The Bundesliga’s goal to restart amid the COVID-19 pandemic may have hit a roadblock on Monday.
Germany’s top soccer league announced that 10 players had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The New York Times, after blanket testing of more than 1,700 individuals from the 36 teams in the Bundesliga’s top two divisions took place.
Most of the players who tested positive are believed to be asymptomatic, per the report. It’s not clear who the 10 are who tested positive nor who they play for, however FC Köln announced on Friday that three of its players had tested positive.
There were more than 3.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide as of Monday afternoon, and nearly 250,000 deaths attributed to the disease. Germany had more than 163,000 confirmed cases — the fifth-highest among any country in the world — but less than 7,000 deaths. Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom all had at least 25,000 deaths attributed to the virus.
The Bundesliga has allowed teams to resume training under strict social distancing rules and was expected to make an announcement about a possible season restart on Wednesday. The league already published a reopening plan, which would have games played without spectators for quite some time.
It’s unclear if the positive tests on Monday will alter the Bundesliga’s plans or upcoming announcement. It is expected to have another wave of testing later this week.
“The tests carried out in the past few days have served their purpose of providing additional security and thus protecting the players as best as possible from infection in team training or game operations,” the Bundesliga said in a statement, via The New York Times. “In the coming weeks and months, it will continue to be a matter of consistently implementing the agreed measures in everyday club life as well as in the private sphere. In the event of positive test results, the decision about the measures to be taken lies with the local health authorities.”
Hertha Berlin forward slammed for breaking social distancing in video
Hertha Berlin forward Salomon Kalou posted a video to social media on Monday that showed him shaking hands with people and even interrupting another player while he was being tested for the coronavirus.
Salomon Kalou has been suspended by his club Hertha Berlin after filming himself flouting social distancing rules on his return to training.— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) May 4, 2020
Appeared to make light of #COVID19 live on social media as the Bundesliga attempts to return to action this month. pic.twitter.com/d2Ch7ox9xQ
Kalou has since deleted the video.
“The pictures from Salomon Kalou from the changing room of Hertha are completely unacceptable,” the league said in a statement, via The New York Times. “There cannot be any tolerance for this, also with regard to the players and clubs who are adhering to the guidelines, because they have grasped the seriousness of the situation.”
Kalou later apologized for his actions. His club also suspended him indefinitely, according to Sky Sports.
“I am sorry if I gave the impression that I am not taking coronavirus seriously,” Kalou said, via Sky Sports. “The opposite is the case, because I am especially worried about the people in Africa, because the medical care there is nowhere near as good as in Germany. I didn’t really think it through, and was excited that my tests came back negative.
“I would also like to apologize to all those who appeared in the video who didn’t know that I was broadcasting live and whom I didn’t want to bring into this situation.”
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