DUSSELDORF, Germany — German soccer is eyeing empty stadiums and a postponed European Championship to save clubs from financial collapse.
The CEO of the German league, Christian Seifert, said Monday a meeting of the 36 clubs from the top two divisions had agreed to an extended suspension through April 2, but “it doesn’t mean that we assume we can play from April 3.”
Separately, the German soccer federation said games in the top two women’s divisions and the women’s cup will be suspended through April 19.
Seifert warned that some men’s clubs face an existential threat from a prolonged break without games, risking “tens of thousands” of jobs at clubs, in the media and in hospitality.
“The only chance in the near future” is to stage games without fans, Seifert said.
He added that he expected a UEFA meeting on Tuesday to make it possible for national leagues to plan club games for May or June. That would almost certainly require UEFA to postpone or cancel the European Championship, which is set to start on June 12.
“I assume that the national leagues will have more flexibility from tomorrow,” Seifert said.
The Bundesliga previously tried to host a full slate of games in empty stadiums last week. It called off that plan on Friday, the last of the big five European leagues to do so, in the face of opposition from German politicians and virus cases at clubs.
Hundreds of fans assembled outside the stadium for the only German game played without fans, Wednesday’s match between Borussia Monchengladbach and Cologne, even though the aim was to stop large gatherings of people.
Paderborn player Luca Kilian has tested positive for the coronavirus. Three players in the second division also have the virus.
“In our view, the suspension of play … is without any alternative at the current time because it’s about protecting people’s health and life,” Heike Ullrich, the German soccer federation’s director for associations, clubs and leagues, said in a statement announcing the suspension of the women’s competitions.
More coronavirus connections to soccer:
- Mason Mount breaks self-isolation and ‘reminded of responsibilities’ by Chelsea.
- The Premier League has postponed play through at least April 3. Aston Villa’s chief executive called it “a very good decision” while Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said we must “protect each other.”
- CONCACAF has suspended play for a month, while UEFA postponed all fixtures next week ahead of a meeting to discuss plans for both club and international European competitions including the Champions League and Europa League.
- Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi is the first Premier League player to test positive for coronavirus.
- Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested posted for coronavirus and the players and staff at the club are self-isolating.
- MLS announced its 2020 season is suspended for at least 30 days.
- Three Leicester City players are in self-isolation after displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
- Real Madrid players in isolation and La Liga games suspended for the next two weeks after Real basketball player tests positive for coronavirus.
- Serie A is considering alternative ways to conclude its scudetto and relegation races, including playoffs or the non-awarding of a champion.
- Juventus confirm that their defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for coronavirus.
- Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis being diagnosed with coronavirus. Olympiacos and Forest have since confirmed all of their staff and players have been tested and their tests have come back as negative.