The president of the Academy of Science Leopoldina expects ghost games in football for a long time to come.
“It will certainly take many months, and it could well be up to a year and a half,” Gerald Haug told ARD when asked how long visits to football stadiums should ideally be avoided. The 52-year-old pointed out that the current pandemic will most likely not end until a vaccine against the virus has been discovered. Until then it was “certainly wise” not to go and visit a soccer stadium, the academic said.
The National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina had published a statement on Monday, which deals with steps to ease the restrictions in the corona crisis. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had called the Leopoldina study “very important” for further action. On Wednesday, the German Chancellor and the Prime Ministers intend to discuss further measures.
For the time being, the association is planning the continuation of ghost games in order to save at least a portion of the outstanding TV money and sponsorship income of around 750 million euros.
Leopoldina President Haug pointed out that the scientists’ statement was only a recommendation. “The roadmap must clearly come from governments,” said the climate researcher. Whether it will really take a year and a half until the stadiums are opened to the fans, he said, remains to be seen. There are also “more optimistic forecasts” as to when a vaccine could be ready.
Will closed doors games continue then?
It is completely open, however, whether the games can be continued in May. Due to the pandemic, numerous restrictions in public life apply all over Europe, which could continue beyond April. If at all, the remaining games in the highest leagues will probably be played as ghost games. The concept for the restart must be supported by politics and health authorities.
“First and foremost, and there is still no question about this, it is a question of controlling the spread of the virus and especially of protecting risk groups” said DFL head Christian Seifert on Tuesday. “This will remain so for some time to come.” However, they are working “full steam ahead” on “how we can get back up and continue working after this crisis.”
Given the massive restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, DFL boss Christian Seifert is expecting considerable changes in the game schedule for the coming season and apparently no longer excludes European Cup matches at the weekend. For the coming season, he said, leagues and international associations must show “great flexibility and responsiveness”.
Everybody will have to “swallow a toad or two”, Seifert said on Tuesday during a video press conference after the DFL members’ meeting in response to the question of whether Champions League matches on Saturday evenings following Bundesliga matches were to be expected. “There will not be a regular season again until 2021/22,” predicted the 50-year-old.