At the Ordinary Assembly of the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga today, March 31, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs unanimously resolved to suspend match operations in Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 until at least April 30 in light of the coronavirus and its consequences. In doing so, the Ordinary Assembly, which was held by video conference for the first time, followed a recommendation made by the Executive Committee of the DFL. An extraordinary Assembly was also convened for April 17.
In today’s Ordinary Assembly potential scenarios and possible courses of action for the coming weeks and months were presented. Bearing in mind that developments in the weeks ahead will be shaped by external factors such as the spread of the virus and the political response, the following specific points were resolved:
- Package of measures for licensing
As the current suspension of fixtures is presenting all 36 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs with the same largely unforeseeable challenges through no fault of their own, the provisions of the licensing system are being adapted to the situation temporarily. In particular, this relates to the regulations on economic performance and its examination before and during the season. The aim is to give all of the clubs the time and opportunity to deal with the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and resume regular match operations so that the competitions can be completed on the pitch.
Specifically, the deduction of nine points as a sanction for the initiation of insolvency proceedings has been suspended for the current season, while the points deduction for insolvency in the coming season has been reduced to just three points. In addition, the clubs’ liquidity situation will not be examined as part of the pending licensing process for the 2020-21 season. However, the DFL will bring forward its examination of economic performance during the coming season from the end of October to mid-September in order to obtain a realistic overview of the economic situation of the individual clubs as soon as possible on the basis of their financial statements as of June 30, 2020. If the liquidity shortfalls identified in the course of this examination are not resolved, there will also be no points deduction for the respective club; instead, a restriction will be placed on their transfer activities.
The licensing process, a core element of the economic solidity and stability of German professional football, will return to normal for the 2021-22 season.
- Establishment of a “Sports Medicine/Special Match Operations Task Force”
A medical task force has been established to draw up a concept for the medically justifiable resumption of match operations and training. The task force will begin by centrally documenting all COVID-19 cases at the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs. The commission is also developing a procedure for the strict and independent testing of players and other staff members, including immediately prior to matchdays. In addition, organisational measures for preventing transmission at stadiums (hygiene, disinfection, distancing, etc.) and specific processes for organising matches and training will be defined in close cooperation with external experts and authorities and set out in the form of standardised guidelines.
The task force is headed by Prof. Dr med. Tim Meyer, Medical Director of the Institute of Sports and Preventive Medicine at Saarland University and team doctor for the German national team. Other members include Prof. Dr med. Barbara Gärtner (medical specialist for microbiology and infection epidemiology; Saarland University), PD Dr med. Werner Krutsch (medical specialist for orthopaedics and trauma surgery; FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, University Medical Centre, Regensburg) and Dr med. Markus Braun (senior physician at the sports medicine department of Klinikum Westfalen, team doctor for Borussia Dortmund and spokesperson for the team doctors in Germany).
- Location-specific production concepts for matches without spectators
The Ordinary Assembly on March 16 had already unanimously agreed that it wanted to play the current season to the end by June 30 – including without spectators if absolutely necessary. Insofar as legally permissible and, of course, justifiable from a health perspective, these matches would take place with a minimal workforce in the areas of sports, media and general organisation in the stadiums. The aim is to come to clear agreements within the leagues in order to allow reliable and binding solutions to be presented.