The German national team’s friendly against Italy, that had originally been scheduled to take place in Nürnberg tonight, was cancelled two weeks ago due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The game against Spain, scheduled to take place in Madrid last Thursday, was also cancelled by UEFA. DFB President Fritz Keller took the two cancelled fixtures as an opportunity to express his sympathy and solidarity to his counterparts in both Spain and Italy; the two countries currently most affected by the pandemic.
“We are following the distressing news in Italy with deep dismay,” Keller wrote to the Italian President Gabriele Gravina. “You, and all of your fellow countrymen, can be assured of our deepest condolences and unconditional support. We are with you in our thoughts, especially in these hours that we wanted to spend together. Your losses hurt us too.”
Keller continued, “We were looking forward to a celebration of football; a friendly encounter between two great footballing nations. Away from all of our worries, with thousands of fans in the stadium in Nürnberg and millions watching at home from both countries. We would have loved to have hosted this football classic. The sport, the emotions of the supporters and the talents of the players should have been the focus. Just as we’re used to. But what we are used to, this sense of normality, no longer exists. Football has had to take a back seat. Instead, in this difficult time, we are worried about our health, about the survival of our fellow human beings and about our families. In Italy, in Germany and throughout the rest of the world. We have all joined together as one. Because, only if we stand together in solidarity, will we be able to overcome this situation, which presents us with challenges that we never would have even thought was possible just a few weeks ago.”
Keller also expressed his desire for these cancelled games to be played at a rescheduled date in the future. Keller wrote to the President of the Spanish Football Association, Luis Rubiales: “At the same time, we are not giving up the hope of being able to watch this footballing spectacle, which has been taken away from us, when we hopefully get through this crisis together as quickly as possible. We are already looking forward to the day that we can meet again in the stadium in sporting competition and shake each other’s hands. Maybe then we will appreciate it even more.”