The corona pandemic has a far-reaching impact on sport and football. It was only on Tuesday that UEFA moved the European championships to the summer of 2021. DFB President Fritz Keller, Oliver Bierhoff, Director of National Teams and Academy, and national coach Joachim Löw spoke about the developments at a video press conference. We noted their remarks.
…the current situation surrounding the Corona crisis: Some problems that seemed important to us yesterday appear small today and everything has really been put into perspective. Solidarity and aid are now in demand, especially in terms of those at risk. I would like to express my thanks to all doctors, nurses, researchers, politicians and all those who take on responsibility, care for people and ensure basic services. We have to accept big cuts right now. The postponement of EURO 2020 is certainly painful, but it was the right decision and an important one for the leagues. Football is now taking a back seat. We all have to follow rules now to save time fighting the spread of the coronavirus. I am convinced that the cancellation of all football games in the coming weeks and months will make a major contribution to stopping the spread of the disease. We now have to reduce social contact, but also look ahead to the future to ensure that everything runs smoothly going forward. We have to work out some solutions. We will do everything we can to maintain the structures of the clubs and associations. The regional associations will receive financial support for this. It is not about ideologies and club colours now, we have to use the situation as an opportunity to rethink. We are fighting for our freedom from a virus. Sacrifice is the first step in ending the crisis.
...the impact of the crisis on the DFB: We have already sent most of the employees home from our headquarters in Frankfurt. So much is now happening via telephone and video conferences. We have to deal with the concerns and needs of everyone carefully. In the current situation, one thing is particularly important: stick together and we’ll get through this!
...possible "ghost games" for the national side: We don’t yet know what’s going to happen in terms of the games. Of course it’s nicer to play in front of an audience, but we also have to be able to adapt to any situation in any stadium.
...solidarity within the football world: Right now it’s important that everyone sticks together. In addition to the health hazard, the corona crisis also creates an enormous economic burden. Everyone from the Kreisliga to the Bundesliga is affected by it. We now have to think about how we can maintain the existing structures.
...the financial situation of the DFB: The DFB has reserves in place. Of course, we don’t yet know what income we will receive in the coming weeks. But we can fall back on a small cushion. We are now giving some of this to the regional associations.
…Addressing the public in general: Stay at home and put your feet up, or help others, that's the most important thing right now. Everyone should refrain from parties and going to clubs and things like that. Communication via mobile phone is now very important. I want everyone to stay healthy. It is therefore important to convince others to abide by the rules that have been set for us. It’s like we’re the football players - and the politicians and scientists are the referees who are officiating everything, and we have to listen to them!
...the current situation: DFB President Fritz Keller has already demonstrated the situation clearly. We are all still shocked and alarmed by the development of events. It is clear that sport is now taking a back seat. Human health is now the most important thing. The national team quickly decided to send a signal and initiated emergency aid amounting to 2.5 million euros. This is a sign that we want to help and act as a team - both as a national team and as "Team Germany". The past few weeks have been gone so quickly, and a new situation has developed every hour. At a certain point of time, there was no alternative to canceling the EURO 2020. In my view, it is the right decision. This is not a major problem for the DFB on an organisational level. We have to plan a year later, but we can handle that. Generally, football now takes a back seat. Questions that concern everyday life and families are now what’s most important. We should all now follow the rules, stay on the right track, and stand together as a country.
...the impact of the crisis on the DFB: We have now taken all measures at the DFB to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Almost all employees are working from home. We are mostly using video and telephone conferences communicate with one another. We have to pay attention to what the politicians are saying now.
...the fundraising campaign of the national team: In times of need it is important to stand together and communicate. We phoned the players and explained the situation. It was quickly agreed that we wanted to set an example. As a national player you have to be a role model. We want to use that power and show that this team is one.
...the solidarity of football: Our goal is to eventually return to how football was before. All those who are experiencing economic hardship should be supported. This affects leagues as well as clubs and we are trying to help in any way we can. At the moment, however, it is still difficult, since an end to the crisis is not yet in sight.
...the current situation: Until a few weeks ago we were still looking forward to the season finale in the domestic leagues, the Champions League and the Europa League. The national team were highly motivated ahead the international matches against Spain and Italy as well as for EURO 2020. But now the Corona crisis has the world under control and nothing is as it was before. Postponing the European Championship is the right decision and there is no alternative. Human health is a top priority. The past few days have moved me a lot. I have the feeling that there is a collective burnout. But now family, friends and dealing with each other are things that really count. We now have to look for sensible solutions. This thinking must be about actionism. We should all be mindful and helpful, and obey rules. Football is important, but there are things that come above it. The measures that have been taken by politicians so far are absolutely correct.
...Changes in football due to the Corona crisis: Everyone has to prove that we can change, that we can live differently. There are many things to think about. We should treat each other with more respect. The impact of the crisis on football is not yet clear. We should use the break to slow down, rethink how we treat each other. The time is now to help family and friends. We do not yet know how the national team and the leagues will progress in particular. We have to see from week to week, from day to day. Of course, we would be happy to see football start up again soon. But the most important thing is that everyone stays healthy.
...the effects of the corona crisis on everyday life: The rules that everyone must follow also apply to me. I have limited social contact and only meet with my closest family and friends. I consciously used the time at home.
...how politics and society deal with the crisis: At this time you can clearly see that populism and actionism no longer stand a chance. Seriousness is paramount and everyone in society is again mindful of each other. Questions about how you're doing are really serious now.
...communication within the national team: There are currently no planned meetings between the players. Everyone is staying with their families, training at home and keeping fit individually. We will contact the individual players in the near future and ask how their families are doing and how they’re feeling in terms of fitness.
...the postponement of EURO 2020: Because of the changes we’ve implemented in recent years, we’re on the right track. We were really motivated to play in the EUROs. You could see in our recent games that we’re really coming together as a team, but now we have to see how things develop. With the cancellation there may be a small advantage: Injured players now have more time to recover.