Coronavirus: Austrian Bundesliga and Czech First League set to return

Both leagues had been stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic

Brian Homewood
Wednesday 13 May 2020 08:18
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Coronavirus: How has sport been affected?

The Austrian Bundesliga has been given the green light to restart by the government following the coronavirus stoppage, it said on Tuesday, with all matches to be played without spectators.

The top flight teams had returned to training from April 20, with players divided into small groups, but there was an impasse after the government said that, if a player tested positive, the entire squad would have to be quarantined for 14 days.

However, after negotiations with the government, it was agreed that only the infected player should be isolated and the rest of the squad could continue training provided they returned negative results.

Full team training can begin from May 15, the league said in a statement.

“With the prevention concept developed by the experts, we guarantee the best possible protection for all players,” said Bundesliga managing director Christian Ebenbauer.

“Even if empty stadiums have no place in my idea of football, they currently give us the only chance to return to the pitch.”

The Bundesliga said that its clubs would meet on Wednesday to discuss a start date and fixture list for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, clubs in the Czech Republic on Tuesday approved a proposal to restart the top two divisions this month after they were suspended by the coronavirus pandemic.

The leagues had already agreed a plan for resuming play, but the clubs had to give it the green light because the competitions are now set to run until July. Some sponsorship deals and player contracts expire by the end of June, when the leagues were originally scheduled to conclude.

Six rounds of games in the regular season and the playoffs remain in the first division, which is now scheduled to be completed by July 15. All games will be without spectators.

The top division will resume with a game between Teplice and Liberec on May 23. The second division will kick off the following week.

The decision to restart is in line with Uefa’s recommendation for leagues to “explore all possible options” to complete their seasons.

The restart was made possible as the government has been easing its restrictive measures adopted to contain the outbreak. The Czech Republic has not been as badly hit by the pandemic as some other European nations, including Italy, Spain, France and Britain.

A total of 282 people have died of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic while almost 8,200 have been infected with the virus. Reuters

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