Bundesliga, 2nd division halted until at least April 2

Advertisement for Union Berlin vs Bayern Munich displayed at the stadium ‘An der alte Foersterei’ in Berlin. (AP pic)

BERLIN: Germany’s Bundesliga and second division will pause at least until April 2 and possibly beyond due to the coronavirus, DFL CEO Christian Seifert said on Monday.

Germany’s top two divisions did not play this weekend after matches were suspended due to the outbreak of the virus and Seifert said any decision on the season would be taken in the week of March 30.

“I want to stress that we do not expect to play on April 3,” Seifert told a news conference. “This is the most difficult period of our professional life. We live in a time of extreme uncertainty.”

“There are more questions than answers. We have to learn to understand that whatever yesterday was seen as normal at the moment is not so normal any more and we don’t know what to expect after today.”

He said the league would continue to put the health of people as its highest priority but the longer the pause the greater the pressure on the entire football industry.

“Closed door games could be the only way to survive. But if now people say they reject such games then they should not think about 18 or 20 professional clubs because there will not be 18 or 20 clubs,” Seifert said.

“The biggest revenues are broadcasting and sponsorship and ticket sales. When you don’t have ticket revenues, broadcasting revenues or sponsorship revenues then it is only a matter of time,” he added.

Germany’s Bundesliga has been in strong financial health for a decade and a half, with the top-division clubs generating more than €4 billion in revenue for the first time in its annual report last month, the 15th consecutive year of growth.

“All clubs are developing extreme scenarios given the current financial situation. No one can say when the games will be played again,” Seifert said. “They have to have an overview of how long they can last without games.”

The DFL is in charge of organising the first and second divisions of German football.

Germany has had almost 5,000 people infected and 12 dead from the coronavirus.