Monday's soccer news starts with the countdown to the Bundesliga's restart and an obvious problem. What happens when players or personnel tests positive for the coronavirus? That's already the situation in the 2.Bundesliga, where Dynamo Dresden had two players test positive and now faces a two-week quarantine. As a one-off situation, the league can postpone a game or two. If it's more than one team, it's the continuation of the existing reasons for suspending the season.
"In the past few weeks, we have made an enormous effort in terms of personnel and logistics in order to strictly implement all prescribed medical and hygienic measures," Dynamo sports manager Ralf Minge "We are in contact with the responsible health authority and the DFL to coordinate all further steps. The fact is that we can neither train nor participate in the game in the next 14 days."
South Korea's league started over the weekend with temperature testing for players as they entered the venue. It's not exactly what anybody expects when they watch pro sports. Getting the games in pushes a return to normality that isn't going to look or feel normal. That's the situation across the world right now, with some areas adjusting to the idea that sports will simply have to wait. The Bundesliga's push is the opposite extreme, showing that even a gradual return that looks not even close to normal is good enough. It might be the right move. Sports businesses in general certainly hopes so, but it's hard to shake the risk for the reward.
Other leagues are undoubtedly hoping for Germany to succeed, but it's in the self-interest of pushing the business forward. The longer the business remains suspended, the greater the difficulties for its stakeholders. That perception means eventually having no choice but to take calculated risks. The Bundesliga and the 2.Bundesliga are taking sizeable ones, hoping to get from here to Saturday without convincing reasons to call the whole thing off.
Meanwhile, sports that are still in no position to restart are hoping the Bundesliga succeeding resets their timelines. That includes Major League Soccer. They wait along with the rest of the North American pro leagues for enough loosening of regulations for playing games to make sense. Lacking the same geography of Germany, that's probably not going to mean using their regular stadiums. However, like Germany sports in the USA have to navigate state and local authorities. The Orlando Sentinel's Julia Poe looks at the rumors that MLS is considering restarting the season or holding a tournament at Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports facility. Reports have all of the major North American leagues considering some version of that scenario.
It's certainly worth asking what this means for fans and the record books. It's one thing to win a championship in a shortened season. It's another when seasons happen behind closed doors at neutral sites. How North American pro sports address that is part of moving forward.
AP's Tales Azzoni explains the situation with positive tests in La Liga. DW's look at the future of German soccer's club ownership structure. The NY Times' Rory Smith argues that what soccer is facing is at least in part an opportunity. The Telegraph's Sam Wallace explains how much money the Premier League is spending on testing. The Observer's Jonathan Wilson uses the Neymar transfer to show the divide in European soccer. SI.com's Brian Straus with Concacaf's issue over any potential merger between MLS and Liga MX.
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Logo courtesy of Dynamo Dresden