March 10, 2020 / 11:54 AM / 21 days ago

Soccer-Gladbach v Cologne Bundesliga game to be played in empty stadium

BERLIN, March 10 (Reuters) - Borussia Moenchengladbach will host Cologne in the Bundesliga in front of empty stands on Wednesday after the city ruled in favour of the ban due to the coronavirus.

The game, postponed last month following a storm warning, will be the first Bundesliga match played behind closed doors since the outbreak of the virus several weeks ago.

“We regret that it came to this but of course we are following the guidelines of the federal state. It was not an easy decision,” mayor Hans Wilhelm Reiners said in a statement on Tuesday.

More games are expected to be played in empty stadiums over the weekend with local authorities in each German state responsible for the final decision.

Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn has advised that meetings of more than 1,000 people should be cancelled.

The German Football League said on Monday it was in charge of making sure the games were held on the scheduled dates and it was up to local authorities to decide on the fans’ entry or not.

Germany recorded its first two deaths from the virus on Monday as its overall number of new infections rose by 20% to 1,139, the latest signs that the epidemic is spreading rapidly in Europe’s largest economy.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond

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