Bundesliga will play without fans again after surge of virus cases

Bundesliga will have to play behind closed doors again starting November 2 after the tentative return of spectators was cut short due to a significant increase of coronavirus cases in Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel along with regional leaders of the 16 states passed new restrictions on Wednesday in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, thus putting professional soccer matches will have to be played without fans starting on Monday and for the rest of November. Amateur sports and leisure activities were suspended, with the exception of individual exercises.

“We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency,” Merkel said as she outlined the reasons behind closing restaurants, bars, clubs, cinemas, theaters and other leisure facilities for a whole month.

The top-flight German league has been playing with limited or no fans present this season anyway, with teams following local restrictions based on infection rates. But Wednesday’s new measures are the first nationwide clampdown since the Bundesliga’s two-month suspension when the pandemic started last March.

Mönchengladbach and Schalke already announced that their Bundesliga fixtures this coming weekend will be played without fans, while Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League match against Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday would take place without any fans as well.

“Fans and clubs have implemented hygiene and distance rules almost without exception in a disciplined manner wherever possible and have thus lived up to their responsibility,” the German soccer league said in a statement. “It’s therefore unfortunate if this is no longer possible. We hope that the adopted measures will have a quick and lasting effect.”

Germany’s disease control agency earlier reported a record 14,964 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, and another 27 COVID-19-related deaths, taking the overall death toll to 10,098.

“We have to flatten the curve, to stabilize the rate of new infections so we can get them down again.” Merkel said.

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