DFB president Fritz Keller comments on the current situation and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on football.
None of us have experienced anything like this before. Football has taken a backseat these days. It is and remains one of the nicest things in the world, but when it comes to health, it is secondary. We’re coming to realise that at the moment. As a result, we’ve recommended that our regional associations suspend all operations at the amateur level until further notice.
Matches in the Bundesliga will be played in front of empty stands this weekend, to some extent. The initial games behind closed doors have proven once again that football is missing its heart and soul when fans aren’t allowed in to watch. Currently, our upcoming international matches will also take place behind closed doors. I cannot even imagine this scenario, especially against footballing giants such as Spain and Italy. I expect that these matches will not be able to take place, given the current situation. UEFA are working diligently to find the best solution for all international matches and for next summer’s European Championship. We will, of course, accept their decision. We need to find a joint solution, with the knowledge that things could change at any moment.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the current situation, we also have the opportunity to take advantage of football’s ability to unite us in order to address this challenge facing the world. We will also use this exceptional situation in order to reflect on the relationship between the fans, the leagues and the clubs, as well as to take a critical look at ourselves in order to prepare any future dialogue. In the face of the current challenges, all of us for whom football occupies a special place in our hearts need to stand together.
That’s why we are looking ahead at what’s to come and will focus on how the matches will continue once we have successfully weathered the current crisis – hopefully both soon and as quickly as possible. Once football returns to the pitch, then all of us will certainly know to cherish it even more than before.