The German Football League (DFL) will take no action against Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin after the club's players celebrated their goals in the 3-0 win at Hoffenheim and challenged the league's recommendations to avoid group celebrations.
En route to a crucial away win that pushed them out of the relegation zone, the Hertha players did not observe the social-distancing instructions after each of their three goals, instead celebrating with a team embrace and other forms of physical contact. But despite their disregard for protocol, they will escape without sanctions, the DFL confirmed on Saturday evening.
"Advice and orientation was given on the issue of celebrating in the appendix of the report," the DFL said in a statement. "There will be no sanctions."
The German League had worked out a detailed 51-page medical and organisational report on how to bring back football amid the coronavirus pandemic, and in a separate report, not made public, passed on advice to teams with more details that were not legally binding.
When asked about the celebrations after the match, Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia said: "Goal celebrations are part of football. We have been tested frequently and that's why I believe this should be allowed. It would be a shame if you weren't even allowed to celebrate, even more would be destroyed."
Hertha's actions came after sources told ESPN last week that referees would not caution players if they attempted to celebrate like they had before the league stoppage.
The other clubs playing on Saturday observed the social-distancing instructions after scoring.