As Germany resurrected its sports league on Saturday, there were no fans in the stadium and after every match, all players returned to their hotels not families.
These are the new realities in the post-Covid19 sports world as Germany resumed its top-flight football league – the Bundesliga. Only sports journalists installed camera tripods as other league staff looked on.
Global football fans are now able to watch live on TV matches from the comfort of their homes as they remain in lockdown or prevented from social public gatherings.
The Bundesliga becomes the first major sports league to spring back to life amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Other major leagues in England, Spain, Italy or France are still weeks away from resumption.
In mid-March, Germany had suspended two top divisions because of the devastating #Covid-19. However, the two divisions resumed action on Saturday as the Bundesliga’s showcased– the Ruhr valley derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04.
Instead of the 81,000 crowd packing in Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park, it was a mere 300 people, including players, staff, team officials, broadcasters and security personnel, as in every stadium as part of a strict health protocol.
“The derby without fans is a new challenge for us but equally complex as a regular game,” Dortmund police said before the game, urging fans to stay at home. “Make it easy for us and stay at home.”
Meanwhile, inside the stadiums masks were mandatory for everyone apart from the players.
According to sports analyst, the Bundesliga is desperate to complete the season for contractual reasons by June 30th.
According to the arrangements teams had to change their routines completely with Leipzig having brought in a set of airport stairs to keep substitutes at a distance in the tribunes, some three metres higher up than the bench.
The Bundesliga has allowed five substitutions in total per game to cope with the lack of match practice and the congested fixture schedule.