Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc would prefer a halt of the German Bundesliga amid the pandemic spread of the Coronavirus. “There is no blueprint of how to deal with this situation,” he told Süddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday, adding: “It’s a new circumstance for everyone and the situation has an incredible dynamic. When I see that the Spanish and Italian leagues have been suspended effective immediately, even though they will have to deal with even more scheduling issues due to the fact that they have 20-team leagues, I ask: Why shouldn’t we be able to do the same?”
Since Süddeutsche Zeitung’s publication, BVB have clarified via their press officer that Zorc was not urging for the to the upcoming Matchday to be cancelled but rather said in general: “things can’t continue like this forever”.
As of the moment of this report, the Bundesliga still intends to play all nine league matches of Matchday 26 between Friday and Monday. All games, including the Revierderby between Dortmund and Schalke on Saturday at 3.30 pm CET, will be held behind closed doors.
As things stand, the Deutsche Fussball Liga and therein organised Bundesliga clubs plan to make a definite decision about whether to suspend the league at the start of next week.
Zorc also urges UEFA to show more flexibility when it comes to international competitions. “We obviously have a few dates within the international schedules that are perceived as holy like the date of the UEFA Champions League final and the Euros 2020. However, this situation is so extreme and extraordinary that we have to call such dates into questions. A postponement would give us leeway to call off league games in an organised and appropriate way and to only continue to play once we can guarantee the health and safety of everyone involved.”
Postponing international competitions would allow the extension of the Bundesliga and other leagues throughout the summer. In the United States, the NBA, MLB and MLS have been suspended indefinitely.
Fan collective “Südtribüne Dortmund” asks for immediate suspension of Bundesliga
The Südtribüne Dortmund, a collective voice of active supporter groups, Ultras, and individuals has released a statement on Thursday, announcing: “Even though we have the clear wish to give our team the biggest possible motivation ahead of the derby in front of empty stands by, for example, a bus reception, we will NOT gather in front of the Westfalenstadion. The same holds true for the time during or after the game, regardless of the result.”
“With this relatively small step, we want to simply avoid any further risk. Without expert knowledge, one can recognise the potential spread of this pandemic when taking a look at Italy. There, the spread has already reached dimensions that nobody would complain about the suspension of football games.”
“German officials will lead heated discussions behind closed doors about the continuation of league play, however, the fact that the 1. and 2. Bundesliga haven’t been suspended yet does not show wisdom or responsibility, especially regarding the endangered parts of society and healthcare workers.”
“The fact that football without fans lacks everything that makes it special was visible yesterday in Paris and Mönchengladbach. Continuing this way for weeks and maybe months only to ensure the season finish in accordance with its regular schedule, would be senseless and without any value.”
“In our view, there is no way around the suspension of the upcoming matchdays — ideally including this weekend!”