Bundesliga clubs will be placed in the mandatory quarantine for the last two rounds of the season as a preventive measure against further game postponements due to COVID-19.
The German Football League (DFL) confirmed the measures on Thursday. The new protocols stipulate that the movements of the players and employees of the 18 Bundesliga clubs will be restricted from May 2nd and placed in closed training camps from May 12th.
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The DFL has introduced this two-stage process to prevent further changes to the fixtures or the chaos in planning after Hertha Berlin was forced to postpone three of their games due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club. The two stages mean that from May 2nd – for the 32nd matchday – players and employees will only be allowed to leave their homes for training and games. And then, starting May 12, they’ll switch to Biosecure training bladders that aren’t home and only travel for games.
The DFL hopes that the league will stick to its originally planned schedule due to these strict measures, as the season can be extended beyond May 23 due to the newly planned European championship.
The Bundesliga ends on May 23. Photo illustration by Budrul Chukrut / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images
The changes were made based on recommendations from the Special Match Operations Task Force, which steered the Bundesliga through the chaos caused by COVID-19. The Bundesliga was the first of the major European leagues to return after a football break last March. The game management and protocols were used as a template for the other leagues to resume their games.
But with the Hertha Berlin case in mind – they were put into a 14-day quarantine after four positive cases at the club – the DFL acted to secure the end point of its two top divisions, even with the 2nd Bundesliga acceptance of these measures .
From May 12th to 23rd, individuals such as team doctors are only allowed to leave the biosecurity bubble in “exceptional cases due to special professional obligations”. This effectively means that the 18 Bundesliga teams are suspended for 11 days while the league reaches its final.
“The purpose of the ‘quarantine training camp’ is to put in place additional security precautions for matches to be played, especially given the time pressure caused by the UEFA euro following the regular season,” the statement said DFL. “It is the responsibility of the clubs to ensure that players, coaches and training staff only come into contact with one another during the specified period. All requirements of the medical and hygienic concept remain unchanged.
“If, in exceptional cases, people such as team doctors have to leave the” quarantine training camp “due to special professional obligations, they may only return to the group of people if they take further protective measures, including an immediate negative rapid antigen test before returning.”
Bayern Munich are 10 points ahead of the top of the Bundesliga with four remaining games, while Schalke’s relegation to the 2nd Bundesliga has been confirmed.