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German health minister open to soccer restart behind closed doors

Video credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on April 22, 2020 - Duration: 05:16s

German health minister open to soccer restart behind closed doors

Germany's health minister Jens Spahn is open to the possibility of Bundesliga matches being played behind closed doors starting next month.

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German health minister open to soccer restart behind closed doors

VIDEO SHOWS: GERMAN HEALTH MINISTER JENS SPAHN SPEAKING; BAYERN MUNICH AND SCHALKE PLAYERS TRAINING SHOWS: BERLIN, GERMANY (APRIL 22, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

GERMAN HEALTH MINISTER JENS SPAHN ARRIVING TO SPEAK TO MEDIA 2.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN HEALTH MINISTER JENS SPAHN, SAYING: "At the same time it is my impression that especially in the case of football, although this also applies to other sports, that phantom games, games played in stadiums but without the fans is still something that is very important to fans, so they can watch the games together on TV - with their families and not in big groups - and that this is still a small return to normality.

And if this can be achieved with a minimised, or as far as possible excluded risk of infection, then it can certainly be done, and now we have to look into this." 3.

SPAHN SPEAKING TO REPORTERS MUNICH, GERMANY (APRIL 22, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 4.

VARIOUS OF BAYERN MUNICH PLAYERS ON PITCH FOR TRAINING AHEAD OF POSSIBLE RESTART OF BUNDESLIGA 5.

VARIOUS OF BAYERN MUNICH TRAINING 6.

MEDIA 7.

VARIOUS OF BAYERN MUNICH TRAINING GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY (APRIL 22, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 8.

SCHALKE 04 PLAYERS COMING ONTO PITCH FOR TRAINING 9.

VARIOUS OF SCHALKE PLAYERS TRAINING WITH GAPS BETWEEN PLAYERS STORY: German soccer clubs including Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 were out training again on Wednesday (April 22) buoyed by a potential mid-May season restart.

German football clubs are hoping a return to action is on the horizon, even if it means playing in closed stadiums, after the country's health minister and regional leaders said matches could potentially resume from May 9.

The Bundesliga has been suspended since mid-March due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which has infected more than 143,000 and killed over 4,500 in Germany.

Germany's health minister is open to a resumption of Bundesliga soccer matches on condition that they are played behind closed doors, he said on Wednesday ahead of a crunch decision by officials on Thursday.

Jens Spahn, recognising that such 'phantom games' are important for millions of soccer fans, said the decisive factor in making the judgment call on returning to action was whether the players' health could be secured.

"If this can be achieved with a minimised, or as far as possible excluded risk of infection, then it can certainly be done", Spahn said.

Regional leaders in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia said on Monday that any league resumption would be without fans and that there would be no action before May 9.

Their statements were welcomed by both clubs and the German Football League (DFL) which will meet on Thursday to decide how long to extend the ban past the current April 30 date.

Bayern are top of the Bundesliga, four points clear of Dortmund, with nine games left in the campaign.

The League has warned that many clubs in the first and second divisions faced an uncertain financial future and several would be in an "existence-threatening" situation if play did not resume by June.

(Production: Ayhan Uyanik, Erol Dogrudogan, Tanya Wood)

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