Austrian league says it can't operate with government quarantine rule

The Austrian professional soccer league may not be restarted after the coronavirus It breaks out if the government insists that an entire team should be quarantined in the event a player tests positive, its managing director told Reuters on Tuesday.

Christian Ebenauer said the government ruling was a coup de grace for the Austrian Bundesliga Hopes to complete this season or even start next.

He added that the dilemma of how to react when a player tests positive is one of the most difficult leagues to face in Europe when trying to start again.

Austrian clubs were allowed to restart training on April 20, raising hopes that the league could resume soon, albeit without viewers.

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Medical guidelines drawn up by the Bundesliga proposed that a player who tested positive would be separated from the squad but that his team mates could continue training provided they tested negative.

We had worked very hard in the last few weeks and had received positive signals from the sports minister so that we could start playing the Tipico Bundesliga again, Ebenauer said in an interview.

But then we were told that if a single player tested positive, then everyone on their team and, in the case of a match, the opposing team would have to spend 14 days in quarantine.

It was a knockout, it was a huge disappointment. It is not possible for the league to operate under this requirement.

After quarantine, he explained, players would also have to train again before they could play another game.

It is a Damocles sword, he said. So you can't have a championship.

Ebenauer added that negotiations would continue with the government, however.

We are thinking and working exhaustively on this and looking to see if there are other possibilities and to present them to the sports ministry and the health ministry ... We still hope that we will have the opportunity to play again.

After talking to colleagues across Europe, he said it was a recurring theme, and many were looking to see what Germany decides

The main problem is the quarantine/non-quarantine issue and the awareness that it won't work if players have to quarantine, he said.

"That seems everywhere to be the key question and now we are all waiting to see what Germany decides, whether the whole team must go into quarantine or not. I think our government will be paying very close attention to what Germany does."

Ebenauer added that so-called ghost games were far from ideal in Austria, where 47% of the club's average budget comes from sponsors and ticket sales and only 17% from television.

We must not forget that each ghost party costs each club money, he said. The clubs live on the income of spectators and sponsors.

So of course there is a difference between the clubs, as to whether ghost games really make sense or not and most of all how long they can survive on ghost games alone.

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