Germany’s premier division Bundesliga became the last of the big five European football leagues to be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The German Football League (DFL) announced in a statement on Friday (March 13) that it cancelled all weekend matches in the top flight and second-tier Bundesliga 2 and recommended that both leagues be suspended until April 2.
The decision was taken “in view of the dynamics of today’s events with new coronavirus infections and corresponding suspected cases directly related to the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2,” the statement said.
It further said that a general assembly would be held on Monday where it would recommend to the clubs both leagues be put on hold until April 2.
It said in an earlier statement: “The goal is still to finish the season by the summer – from a sporting point of view, but especially because an early end to the season could have consequences that could threaten the existence of some clubs.”
Monday, March 16th match between Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen was due to be played without spectators but was already called off over concerns that fans could congregate outside the stadium as they have done at several European games this week.
Bremen said their match had been postponed on the orders of the city government.
They quoted their mayor Andreas Bovenschulte saying that “around 2,000 to 3,000 fans are expected to attend the match in front of the stadium”, which would break a ban on gatherings of over 1,000 people.
The DFL also appealed to fans to not gather outside stadiums at the other matches. The problem happened at a number of European club matches played behind closed doors this week, including Valencia, Paris Saint-Germain and Olympiakos.
Eight matches are due to be played between Friday and Sunday, including the Ruhr derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke.
Paderborn coach Stefan Baumgart had undergone a test for coronavirus after displaying symptoms of the disease.
“We are waiting for results over the course of the afternoon,” the club said on Twitter.
Earlier, Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara criticised the decision to carry on playing at the weekend amid the Coronavirus threat.
This is crazy. Please stop fooling around and land on reality. Let's be honest, there are much more important priorities than any sport.
— Thiago Alcantara (@Thiago6) March 13, 2020
“This is crazy. Please stop fooling around and land on reality,” he said on Twitter.
“Let’s be honest, there are much more important priorities than any sport.”