Crisis – regret and horror: Partial lockdown hits amateurs hard

Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – The professionals lament the return to ghost games ordered by politics, the temporarily shut down amateur football is even threatened with collapse.

After the nationwide suspension of all game operations in the lower divisions in November, not only the season is in danger in many places, but also the existence of clubs. “I am appalled by the ignorance and disdain for the sport and the clubs”, complained the President of the Saxon Football Association (SFV), Hermann Winkler, about the four-week partial lockdown, which affects all amateur sport, by the federal and state governments.

The effects can be dramatic and their full extent cannot yet be estimated. DFB Vice President Rainer Koch expects “far-reaching consequences” and complained that “clubs and associations are now repeatedly faced with extreme challenges when we think about the fact that members have to stay away, possibly turn away completely or children no longer have access to football in the club Find”. The 61-year-old demanded that this should not become permanent.

DFB boss Fritz Keller pointed out that the clubs offer support and solidarity, especially in challenging times. “We need this social cement to cope with this pandemic as well as protective and preventive measures”, emphasized Keller. A clear hint to politicians not to extend the measures imposed until the end of November, at least for sport.

Joti Chatzialexiou, sporting director of national teams at the German Football Association, described the upcoming four-week training ban due to the coronavirus pandemic as “really painful” – especially for the children and young people who are also affected. “It hurts our hearts,” said Chatzialexiou. For the President of the Hamburg Football Association, Dirk Fischer, it is “difficult to convey that children and young people sit together in school and then are not allowed to do sports together outside in the fresh air”.

After the 2019/20 season in the amateur sector had to be canceled due to the Corona crisis, the current season is now increasingly in danger due to the involuntary break. Because the schedule in the leagues, which were increased due to the relegation regulation, which was mostly suspended in the previous season, is already tight. And before that, there were a number of game cancellations due to Corona.

It was initially unclear whether all five regional leagues would have to stop playing. Because both amateurs and professionals play in the fourth highest league. While the northern season has already announced a break in play, a decision in the seasons West, Southwest, Northeast and Bavaria was still pending on Thursday.

Despite the massive problems, DFB Vice Koch emphasized that the association supported the measures decided by politicians. “This is a matter of course in this extremely difficult and unprecedented situation for our entire society,” he told the German press agency. The aim of the new federal and state measures is primarily to limit contacts because many health authorities can no longer adequately track contacts made by infected people.

The pros are not that hard hit by the four-week partial lockdown, as they can at least continue to play in front of empty ranks. For the Mainz sports director Rouven Schröder, the renewed exclusion of viewers is “bitter”. At the same time, however, he admitted that the professional footballers are also privileged because they can continue to do their work. “Other industries such as artists are not allowed to,” said Schröder. Borussia Mönchengladbach’s sports director Max Eberl warned: “We generally have to accept things that people decide who think a lot.”

Nevertheless, the billion dollar industry is having a hard time making a decision. “Professional football is demonstrably not a driver of the pandemic. And to be honest, nobody else sees it. Especially against this background, it is difficult to accept that facts do not count,” Borussia Dortmund wrote in an open letter to its fans on Thursday.

The German Football League had described the four-week exclusion of spectators as “regrettable” and pointed out that in the past few weeks fans and clubs had “implemented hygiene and distance rules almost without exception in a disciplined manner wherever possible and have thus lived up to their responsibility”.

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