Strict DFL Protocol in Running Bundesliga

Good news for football fans who lost their mind after the world’s top leagues were suspended to minimize the spread of Covid-19. Unlike the Ligue 1 and Eredivisie who decided to end the season, the Bundesliga will be held again on 16 May after stopping more than two months.

The Bundesliga has reached its 25th week with 11 weeks remaining until the 2019/20 season is over. Bayern Munich meanwhile are top with 55 points. Borussia Dortmund are second with 51 points, followed by RB Leipzig and Borussia M`gladbach with a difference of one point each. The biggest match of the 26th week will take place at Signal Iduna Park, where host Dortmund will face Schalke in the match titled Revierderby.

The Bundesliga that will return soon is started by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who allowed the Bundesliga to roll back. Merkel’s statement on May 6 was responded to very quickly by the Deutsche Fußtball League (DFL) as the league operator who held a meeting the following day with representatives from 36 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 teams to discuss the sustainability of the league.

“This decision is good news for the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. This will be followed by the great responsibility of the club and the person concerned to implement the disciplined medical protocol. I want to thank the decision makers who have given us confidence,” said the CEO DFL, Christian Seifert.

The biggest consideration for continuing the Bundesliga is of course financial considerations. Seifert revealed that 18 of the 36 teams in the German league’s top division could suffer financial problems if the league was not continued. This is because the team does not get revenue on match days such as tickets, broadcasting rights, and sponsors. Losses caused could reach € 750 million.

Several team representatives gave warnings to the DFL from March about the club’s unstable condition if the league was stopped. The DFL responded quickly by making “Task Force Sports Medicine / Special Game Operations” at the end of March. The results of the task force were very visible in mid-April when they launched 51 pieces of procedures for holding a spectator match during this pandemic.

The DFL looks very ready to hold a competition with this high safety risk, but the problem will also be faced by teams that will return to compete after two months of rest. The German teams actually started training again in early April, of course with strict physical distancing rules. Bayern Munich train in small groups of only three to four people each. Bayern head coach Hans-Dieter Flick and his coaching staff use poles and mannequins as opposed to during training sessions.

Before the league starts, there will be two waves of tests first to ensure the health of the players and the coaching staff. Around 1724 tests were carried out on 4 May. There are 10 positive cases reported to the authorities in each region and will undergo 14 days of quarantine. This week a second wave of tests will be conducted to ensure no positive cases are not detected in the first wave.

Regarding safety and health protocols ahead of the match, the DFL sets many rules and procedures that must be obeyed with strict penalties if not done. All players and coaching staff will undergo tests twice a week, one of them the day before the match day. If there is one week with more than one match schedule, they will be tested before the two matches. The results will be sent to the club doctor on the morning of the match day.

For the Bundesliga match, the DFL only allows 322 people in the stadium area of ​​the match, including players, coaches, referees, camera operators, anti-doping officers, security officers, field officers, and wickets. They must undergo a temperature check first before coming. The DFL divides the 322 people into three zones namely the field zone, the stands zone, and the outer zone with the maximum number of different zones.

Players, coaching staff and other clubs will come with more than one bus that has been sterilized beforehand. They must maintain a distance of approximately 1.5 meters and wear masks when entering the stadium area. Players from the home team are allowed to go using their own car and not hitchhiking or hitching a ride.

The 11 main players will get ready in the locker room, followed by the backup players afterwards. If the changing rooms available are not as large as the Veltins-Arena, Schalke enclosure, the match committee must find another solution. If the dressing room is large, then the player will be spread as far as possible in the dressing room. The DFL asks the competition committee to use as many rooms as possible in preparation for the match. When players leave the dressing room, they should not be crammed into the stadium hallway. The dressing room will then be cleaned when it is empty.

Match officials will also undergo the same protocol. They were asked to travel on match day, not the day before and stay at the hotel. The ball will be sprayed with disinfectant before the match and there will only be four goal wicks with a minimum age of 16 years. The ceremony before the match will be as minimal as possible. There are no mascots, handshakes and team photos. The substitute must be one or two benches away from the other players on the bench. If it’s not enough, they can use the stands.

Supporters are allowed to send banners or banners the day before the match to be installed by the committee at the stadium. Although viewers are banned from entering the stadium area, there is another concern, namely the possibility that fans will gather to watch with their proud team. This happened in the PSG match against Borussia Dortmund on March 11 and certainly did not comply with the physical distancing rules.

Sports director Eintracht Frankfurt explains the strict rules that prohibit fans from gathering. “We talked to fans and said, ‘please don’t come to the stadium, if you come, we will be declared defeated because the rules are very strict’. Don’t appear near the stadium, it’s useless,” Fredi Bobic said.

The situation on the field when the match starts will also be very tight. The trainer must use a mask even though it is permissible to open occasionally when giving instructions. Similarly, the fourth official, coaching staff, and reserve players. When the match, players are prohibited from celebrating joint goals such as hugging or even shaking hands. Contact is only allowed using elbows or legs. This is potentially interesting because it can give birth to a new style of celebration in the middle of this pandemic. Players are also prohibited from contacting the referee when debating the referee’s decision.

New rules announced by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) regarding player changes are also being considered by the DFL. IFAB announced that each team may make five substitutions but remain on three occasions so as not to disrupt the course of the match. For example, a team may make two changes, one change, and two changes on three chance substitutions.

After the match, players are not permitted to hold press conferences. Interviews will be conducted via video telephone. They were asked to take a bath at home or hotel and wash their respective match equipment. Regarding the family and people who are in the player’s house, they are recommended for voluntary testing. Players may not make physical contact with neighbors or people outside the home, must continue to do physical distancing, may not receive guests, and are prohibited from using public transportation as is usually done by Union Berlin defender, Neven Subotic. The same rules apply to all people who live in a player’s home.

The very strict protocol certainly sees the fact that based on 9 May 2020 data, Germany recorded 170,876 positive cases of Covid-19. The Bundesliga will certainly be in the public spotlight of football in the world. Based on the club’s financial considerations, the DFL’s decision to continue the league was accompanied by a number of strict protocols to ensure the match ran safely. Bundesliga can be an example for other top European leagues in continuing the league. In addition, of course, the Bundesliga will let go of the longing for the spectacle of world-class football that hasn’t been available for the past two months.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *