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Germany’s Bundesliga to resume this month – Angela Merkel

The German Bundesliga season can resume this month, Chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed.

It will become the first major league in Europe to return to competition, with a date for resumption to be confirmed by the German Football League (DFL) on Thursday.

All matches will be played behind closed doors.

With nine games remaining, Bayern Munich are top of the table, four points above Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern chairman Karl Heinz Rummenigge said: “I would like to thank the politicians for giving today’s decision [and for] the opportunity to finish the Bundesliga season.

“We are now looking forward to resuming play, ideally from mid-May. This ensures that the sporting decisions are made on the pitch.

“I appeal to everyone involved to follow the requirements, which are the basis for resuming games, in an exemplary and extremely disciplined manner.”

Christian Seifert, chief executive of the DFL, added: “Today’s decision is good news for the Bundesliga and the Bundesliga 2.

“It is associated with a great responsibility for the clubs and their employees to implement the medical and organisational requirements in a disciplined manner.

“Games without spectators are not an ideal solution for anyone. In a crisis threatening the very existence of some clubs, however, it is the only way to keep the leagues in their current form.”

The announcement comes a day after clubs in the top two German divisions returned 10 positive results from 1,724 coronavirus tests.

The DFL had warned that many top-division teams would be in an “existence-threatening” financial position if play did not resume by June.

Players returned to training last month, with the DFL initially saying the league would be ready to return on 9 May.

Germany has banned large events with crowds until 24 October, so games will be behind closed doors, but the DFL has developed a health and safety plan that would see only about 300 people or near the pitch during matches, to minimise the risk of infection.

According to official figures, just under 7,000 people have died in Germany from coronavirus, a much lower figure than in other western European countries including the UK, Italy, France and Spain.

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