Bundesliga return delayed by German government

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The German Bundesliga will not return on May 9 as previously hoped after the German government delayed a decision on the league's return until next week.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of the federal states held a video summit on Thursday to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the country.

The head of chancellery, Helge Braun, and the federal state chancelleries are now set to bring in a draft resolution for the next "Bund and Lander" meeting between Merkel and the leaders of the federal states on May 6, Sportschau said.

Last week, the German Football League (DFL) said it would be ready to return on May 9, adding that it was not in their hands but those of politicians.

With the decision of a possible Bundesliga return now delayed until next week, the restart on May 9 is off the table.

"The DFL of course accepts that today no decision was made on the resumption of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2," the German Football League said in a statement on Twitter, adding that the league and clubs will continue their preparations for restart of the season in May.

Earlier this week, sources told ESPN that clubs are confident the Bundesliga will return in May, regardless of what would be decided at the video summit.

The league, which last played in early March, still has nine match days left to complete the season.

Bundesliga clubs continue to train in small groups but have yet to resume full team training and some coaches have called for at least 10 days of team training before the first match will be played.

The DFL confirmed on Thursday that they have begun testing Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 players for the coronavirus.

Players and staff from each club will be tested up to two times a week, an estimated total of 20,000 tests until the end of June, taking up less than 0.4% of Germany's current weekly testing capacity.

German football wants to finish the season by June 30 to avoid running into legal trouble with loan deals and contracts ending that day.

The DFL, which represents the 36 clubs of the upper two tiers, and its CEO, Christian Seifert, had argued that 56,000 jobs in football were at stake, and Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke warned that a return in June might come too late for football.

While the league's precautions to prevent the coronavirus were approved at the sports ministers conference as well as by the ministry of labour, some decision makers felt the time was not right to discuss a Bundesliga return ahead of other measures.

"Playgrounds closed, kindergartens closed, Bundesliga is back. It just doesn't fit," Brandenburg's minister president, Dietmar Woidke, said on RBB Radio earlier on Thursday.

Stephan Weil, Woidke's Lower-Saxony counterpart, explained on ARD TV that he does not believe it's "justifiable Bundesliga resumes and we have no perspective for kids or mass sports."