Bundesliga Restart Hailed a SuccessPeter Houghton
While the authorities and competition providers in England seem to be plodding through a sea of treacle in their bid to get Premier League football restarted, the Bundesliga relaunched itself in Germany over the weekend and it was deemed to be a success.
Germany is a mile in front of the UK in terms of the reactions to Covid-19, and its success in combatting the virus so far gave its main football league sufficient confidence to get itself going again.
There was a mixed bag of fixtures ranging from the Ruwer Derby between Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04, where the hosts, despite an empty “Yellow Wall” won easily 4-0 and Union Berlin v Bayern Munchen which the reigning 7-year champions won 2-0 in a match that didn’t necessarily reflect the tremendous efforts of the team from the capital.
I think it’s fair to say the European football world was watching in earnest at proceedings in central Europe and at the visible measures put in place to maximise protection against the killer virus. Social distancing arrangements and face masks were very much in evidence, but I’m not sure that Dedryck Boyata’s full-on kiss of a colleague when he scored was what the doctored ordered.
In England, we constantly from hear, from Oliver Dowden, that “We are making very good progress”, but among our colleagues, it really doesn’t feel like that. There still seems to be an absence of involvement and engagement with Safety Officers and more and more it feels as though a set of conditions will be imposed on us.
Hardly a day passes without a high profile footballer expressing his concerns over the restart. Aguero, Rose, Deeney, Abrahams, Willian and Sterling among others have all expressed a desire to get going but only when it is safe to do so. Some have already suggested that as there has been no clear directive, 12 June seems to be optimistic at best. Their thoughts are as much around fitness as anything else. Even cameramen working for the broadcasters have expressed fears.
More meetings are scheduled for this week, but the table below shows the reason that Germany could be more confident that England at the current stage:
Date New Cases Deaths New Cases Deaths
11 May 697 92 3877 210
12 May 595 77 3403 627
13 May 927 123 3242 494
14 May 877 67 3446 428
15 May 724 73 3560 384
16 May 545 26 3450 468
17 May 407 22 3534 170
The table tells its own Story and explains why clear direction in England is difficult at this time and the concept of starting in a month’s time is clearly based upon expectations that new cases and deaths will reduce more into the line of Germany over the interim period.
Entry to German stadiums was a two-tier process whereby people such as journalists has to complete a “contact” form and state they had not been in touch with any sufferers and then have a thermal screening process for real-time fever temperature.
It was also noted that despite Saturday’s opening match being a local derby, no fans at all turned up at the Signal Iduana Park. In the first round of English fixtures we will see Everton v Liverpool (!)