(Reuters) - Germany’s plans to restart competitive soccer on May 16 suffered an early setback after the entire team of second tier Dynamo Dresden were placed in a two-week quarantine following two positive coronavirus tests.
The Bundesliga 2 club announced on their website that tests taken on Friday had revealed two new positive cases and local health authorities had ordered the team into quarantine.
“After an intensive analysis of the situation, the health authority in Dresden... decided on Saturday that the entire second division squad, including the coaching and support team, must now go into a 14-day quarantine at home,” the club said.
“Due to the quarantine measures, (the club) will not be able to travel to Lower Saxony for the away game on matchday 26 as planned,” the club added.
Dresden were scheduled to play Hanover 96 next Sunday in their first game back following the stoppage that was caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“In the past few weeks, we have made enormous efforts in terms of personnel and logistics in order to strictly implement all the prescribed medical and hygienic measures,” said Dynamo sports manager Ralf Minge.
“We are in contact with the responsible health authority and the DFL (German Football League) to coordinate all further steps. The fact is that we can neither train nor participate in the game in the next 14 days.”
The Bundesliga announced this week that it would restart on May 16 after being given the green light by the government.
The league has drawn up a detailed set of regulations and guidelines for training and matches in order to reduce to the mininum possible the risk of transmitting the virus, including stringent testing.
However, the question of how to respond to positive tests is out of the hands of the league as German law states any response to cases is a matter for the local health authority.
DFL chief executive Christian Seifert told broadcaster ZDF that the aim was still to end the season.
“We said from the beginning that this is something we have to be prepared for,” he said. “If a 14-day quarantine is now scheduled, then we have to deal with it next week in the spirit of the game plan.”
“At the moment, however, this does not upset our timetable. The DFL has been working on this concept for a long time and we have always stressed that it is the local health authorities that decide on each individual case, on each team.”
“For the 2nd division, where 81 matches are still to be played, two of Dynamo Dresden’s matches cannot be played at the moment. But we are not changing our goal to finish the season.”
The league has been on hold since mid-March because of the coronavirus outbreak which has brought football to a standstill around the world and Germany’s progress is being closely watched by other leagues.
On Monday, the DFL said it had registered 10 positive cases in a blanket test of 1,724 players and staff at its 36 first and second division clubs.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar
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