Germany plans to restart soccer league in May

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: Berlin plans to allow Bundesliga of Germany restart behind closed doors in May after weeks of imposed shutdown to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to a draft government agreement seen by AFP on Wednesday.

Politicians believe that restarting play in the first and second divisions to limit economic damage to the 36 clubs is acceptable, according to the document.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and state prime ministers will set a date for the games to start in a conference call later on Wednesday, and the German media reported that May 21 was a possible candidate.

The restart of match activity should be preceded by a two-week quarantine, if any in the form of a training camp for players, the document read.

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Germany's influential DFL football League has long urged to restart the game, which it says is vital to a sector that employs 56,000 people in Germany.

It has offered authorities a strict infection control plan based on numerous tests for coronavirus, which it says would allow competition to relaunch with low risk.

Health Minister Jens Spahn has judged that the scheme makes sense and can serve as an example for other forms of professional sport, although it must be followed.

German clubs can recover 300 million euros ($ 325 million) in television rights if they are allowed to play the remaining nine days of the match in the Bundesliga season.

That could help absorb some of its financial losses, with more than a dozen of the 36 first and second division teams on the brink of bankruptcy according to media reports.

The DFL will hold a general video conference meeting on Thursday, where club representatives will finalize the details of the restart.

Most have already started training again ahead of time.