Germany’s Bundesliga can restart games from the second half of May following the coronavirus stoppage, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.
Merkel’s announcement had been widely expected as part of measures to begin easing the country’s lockdown aimed at halting the spread of the virus.
Sources told Reuters that the government and federal states had also agreed that the second division, the 2. Bundesliga, could restart matches.
Matches without fans
All matches would have to be played without fans, sources familiar with the talks told Reuters, adding that the German soccer league (DFL) will decide on the exact dates for the resumption of the Bundesliga and the second-tier 2. Bundesliga.
The league has been on hold since mid-March.
Officials from the 16 states held a teleconference with Merkel on Wednesday to discuss easing the country’s lockdown measures. The DFL is due to hold an assembly with its 36 member clubs on Thursday followed by a news conference.
The Bundesliga will be the first of Europe’s top five domestic leagues to restart following the outbreak, which has brought football to a standstill around the world. Its progress is likely to be closely watched by other leagues.
Meanwhile in Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid players started to undergo coronavirus tests on Wednesday as LaLiga clubs planned to return to restricted training ahead of the proposed resumption of the season next month.
Barca captain Lionel Messi and France international Antoine Griezmann were among players pictured arriving at the club’s training centre early Wednesday morning.
Results from the coronavirus tests are typically known within 48 hours. The testing is part of the league’s strict medical protocol with which teams must comply before a return to training.