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Coronavirus: Freund warns Bundesliga clubs risk collapse unless football resumes

3 months ago
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Steffen Freund hopes to see the Bundesliga swing into action on May 9, but he also fears the impact of a coronavirus outbreak in the league.

Steffen Freund has warned Germany could see "a lot" of leading football clubs go bankrupt unless the Bundesliga resumes in the near future.

There are hopes the league could be allowed to stage games behind closed doors from May 9, although concerns have been raised that fans might gather outside stadiums.

Despite such misgivings, the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) is hoping for government approval to gets its show back under way, salvaging a season that was paused last month due to the coronavirus threat.

There are nine rounds of Bundesliga games still to be played, as well as the DFB-Pokal semi-finals and final, and clubs will not want to see broadcast income threatened by a lack of action.

Freund, who made his name with Schalke and Borussia Dortmund and later played in England for Tottenham, fears the worst for a number of clubs if the league authorities are denied permission to stage games in the coming weeks and months.

The Euro 96 winner said: "Overall the German football [league] - the DFL - is the best at the moment so far in Europe. Because we are ready to start on May 9 if the politicians [approve].

"Of course, the Germans are ready and they would like to see the Bundesliga again."

Freund, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, said: "Of course, with the coronavirus you have a few problems and one problem is of course to test most of the players before and after the games.

"But if you don't start in the next two or three months, a lot of the teams from the first and second Bundesliga are bankrupt and then we have not enough teams to play the next season.

"So overall I'm really positive. If it's not May 9, Germany will start I think at the latest at the end of May, the Bundesliga of course with 'ghost games' and without supporters."

German health authorities will be closely looking at the situation and must give the DFL's plans their approval.

Freund worries what would happen if there was an outbreak of coronavirus within the league.

"If, for example, one team, or five or six players, pick up the virus, that is I think the biggest question they have to answer," said the 50-year-old former Germany midfielder.

"What happens then? Because I think normally the whole team has to go in quarantine and you can't play and you can't finish the league.

"if you play and then you pick up the coronavirus - if, for example, Bayern Munich [have] five players [with coronavirus], then what are you doing then?

"I understand the situation in Spain and Italy is even worse and people are dying, no question.

"But if in three months you have 10 teams in the first and second league in Spain bankrupt - in England the same, in Italy the same, in Germany the same - then it's difficult to start a new season anyway."

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