The Corona crisis is a challenge to everyone, especially those involved in sport. DFB General Secretary Dr. Friedrich Curtius lead a presentation with other people from the DFB, DFL and medical professionals, all of whom are in close contact with each other daily.
…the current situation: It’s an extreme situation that we’re experiencing currently. Coronavirus presents a challenge to us in sport that none of us have ever had to deal with in the past. There seem to be new developments almost every hour that we have to deal with. We’re constantly being asked what responsibilities we have in sport, what we can do and what we have to do to help.
…the responsibilities of the football associations: What’s clear is: health comes first. What’s also clear is that the DFB, DFL as well as the Regionalliga and health organisations also have an immense responsibility to keep everyone safe – the teams, the players, the fans and of course all the families. We’re all aware of our responsibilities, and we’re trying everything in our power to tackle the problem. But we’re not medical experts, we’re not doctors. Germany has a fantastic health system and we have every faith in our doctors and nurses to help people.
…the decisions of the DFB it’s associates: We have to be clear in all of our decisions that we make with the help of the relevant health organisations. We can’t be asking ourselves “when and if” in this situation, we have to act quickly with the help of the sporting organisations to do what’s best for everyone and take care of our core tasks. That has been the main consensus of conference with the President of the association. We can’t just rush into decisions, we have to take meaningful, well-thought-out action to try and combat the problem.
…challenges that the competitions face: The situation with the competitions is a really complex one at the minute given the point we’re currently at in the season and the close connections between the leagues from the Bundesliga all the way down to the Kreisliga, especially in terms of how it will affect relegation and promotion regulations. We have to take into account questions of rights and liability issues.
…how it could play out now: At the moment we can’t predict how the effects of Coronavirus will progress and the immediate impact it will have on us. We have to prepare for any outcome, whether that means the season will be postponed or ended completely. The task at hand though is to try and get as many games played as we can and to try and bring the season to a natural conclusion.
…demands for uniformity: The health departments have the final say in all cases, the call is out of our hands.
…the 3. Liga: In the 3. Liga, the next two games have been postponed until May, whereas in the 2. Bundesliga and the Bundesliga, all games are now to be played behind closed doors. The DFB, as organiser for the 3. Liga, followed the recommendation they received got to call of the matches. One of the reasons for this was that the club are of course less financially stable in the 3. Liga. Exactly what actions will be taken in the 3. Liga will be decided at a special meeting with the clubs this coming Monday. In this meeting we have to decide how the economic problems of the virus for all the clubs of 3. Liga can be successfully combated, for example if we can temporarily relax the requirements for the necessary licensing procedures in order to give the clubs a bit of financial relief.
…the consequences for amateur football: There are also plenty of questions there concerning amateur football which at the moment contains about 140,000 teams. Schleswig-Holstein is one of the first regional associations to close down its entire operation for the next ten days. It’s feared that that may not be adhered to. At the core of all of this, it’s the responsibility of each team to work out if any of their players have been to a high-risk area within the past few weeks. The DFB and its regional associations implore those in that state not to let their players train, regardless of whether they are currently experiencing symptoms or not.
…the DFB youth congress being called off: We were extremely upset to have to call this off as our connection to all of our amateur clubs is really dear to us. With the way things currently are, however, it would have sent the wrong message to be holding this kind of event, and so the DFB and its associates decided to call it off. The congress will have to be reorganised at a later date when all of this has calmed down.
…the togetherness of German football: I’m absolutely convinced that we in football will be able to overcome this Corona crisis and the decisions we make as an association to combat this and help everyone involved in football, will be the right ones.