State premiers will vote on easing coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday. According to a report by Reuters, it is expected that they will approve the reopening of much of the economy, including giving the green light to the return of the Bundesliga. The Bundesliga will be allowed to resume play behind doors from May 15th. This is despite the first round of testing in the league producing 10 positive cases.
This is a bit of a coup for the Bundesliga, as it will be the first major sports league in the world to return to play, and as a result could see a huge spike in global audiences.
At the same time, there are surely concerns that this could backfire and lead to another outbreak in Germany. I’m still pretty uncertain about this call. I’m concerned that underlying political pressures, due to the CDU leadership contest, have pushed this to happen a little quicker than it necessarily should, but at the same time, if any country can pull it off, it’s Germany. I guess we’re going to find out!
Leagues All Over Europe Making Decisions on Their Future
The first dominoes to fall in the decisions about the rest of the season were in Belgium and the Netherlands, with both cancelling their leagues, but the biggest casualty so far has definitely been Ligue 1, which was called off this week. Of course, that wasn’t really the decision of the FFF, as the French Prime Minister made the call and took it out of football’s hands, but the decision has meant that Amiens and Toulouse are relegated, PSG are champions, and Rennes are in the Champions League!
Galette-saucisse je t’aime,
J’en mangerai des kilos, et des kilos !,
Dans toute l’Ille-et-Vilaine,
Avec du lait Ribot,
Et si tu m’abandonnes,
Alors je m’empoisonne,
Avec des tripes de Caen,
Et des rillettes du Mans...
With the Bundesliga seemingly set to return, and Ligue 1 cancelled, this leaves Serie A, La Liga, and the Premier League. Serie A is in no position to make a return just yet, but they’re holding off on making any decisions either, while La Liga is preparing proposals for a potential return in the near future.
The Premier League, however, is in the midst of discussions to return behind closed doors, with games played at a neutral venue (probably St. Georges Park), to limit the potential for spreading the virus. The Athletic reports that this has been met by skepticism by numerous clubs, particularly because it asks teams to forego home games when they are in desperate need of that kind of advantage. It is believed that Watford, West Ham, Norwich, and Villa are all against the proposal, and Brighton have publicly rejected the idea. It’s clear that relegation-threatened clubs feel this is places them at an unfair disadvantage. The feeling is that the vote on this proposal is likely to fail to receive majority support (a 14-6 vote is needed to pass the proposal). This leaves Project Restart in a bit of a hole. The alternative solutions include foregoing relegation for the season, which hurts Championship leaders West Brom and Leeds, unless you allow promotion and play with a 22-team Premier League next season, which likely requires cancelling the Carabou Cup, which will really hurt the lower league clubs. It’s hard to see a solution that will suit everybody.
No BVB Positives
The good news is that with the first round of testing in the Bundesliga having taken place this week, there were zero positive cases among the Borussia Dortmund squad and staff. Hopefully it stays that way.
In non-coronavirus BVB news, there has been a shakeup of the U19 and U23 coaching staff for next season. The U23 coach, Mike Tullberg, will become the U19s coach next season, while the U19 coach, Michael Skibbe, will take Tullberg’s role as coach of the U23s.
This sounds like a demotion for Tullberg, despite BVB Youth Coordinator, Lars Ricken, spinning it as a great opportunity: “We regard Mike Tullberg to be a top coaching talent and, having completed his first year at BVB, we want to give him the chance to work with the top talents in the U19s.” I don’t really know what is going on here. But it’s hard to find football news these days, so I’m chucking you these scraps in the hope it’ll quench your thirst.
And in some weird and wonderful football news, former Schalke youth player, Hiannick Kamba, who was presumed dead almost four years ago after a “car crash” in Congo, has been found alive and well in Gelsenkirchen. He gave up his life as a footballer and is now a chemical technician. It’s good to follow your dreams.
Until your dream turns to dust and now your wife is being investigated for insurance fraud. Good one Hiannick!