6.05.2020Bayer 04

Rolfes after restart decision: ‘Sign of confidence’

Confirmed on Wednesday: The 2019/20 Bundesliga season is set to start again. A video conference with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state minister presidents resulted in the green light for the resumption of the Bundesliga in the second half of May after the suspension of league fixtures in the middle of March. Tomorrow (Thursday), the DFL will announce the exact start date for games behind closed doors. Following the decision of the politicians to allow the resumption of the league campaign, Bayer 04 sporting director Simon Rolfes talked to an online media audience about...

… the decision to resume the Bundesliga season: We’re happy about the decision. It’s a sign of the confidence of the politicians in the concept of the DFL that prescribes the organisational and hygienic requirements. A lot of people have been working on it and its local implementation over the past few weeks both by DFL and the clubs. In our case, we have to thank our team doctor Dr. Karl-Heinrich Dittmar and his team. They designed all the measures and implemented them. But it’s also clear this decision also brings great responsibility with it – for the club and the players. We want to live up to that in the coming weeks.

…criticism of the decision: Above all in a crisis, it’s important not to play different groups off against each other. You can’t criticise anybody who wants to do their job again. The people in charge from the widest range of groups had and have the chance to work out plans for a restart – and professional football has achieved it. Of course, football as the number one sport, which is reported on daily in nearly all the media, plays a big part in the public dialogue. But it doesn’t automatically have a higher priority over anything else because of that.

…the competitive parity of the Bundesliga clubs: I believe that’s a given. Everybody has trained in restricted conditions and without an exact target date, starting in small groups. It hardly has any effect if you resume full training one or two days earlier than others. Not all teams start at the same time in the pre-season or during the winter break.

…the case of an infected player/manager over the course of the season: The power of ultimate decision in that event is with the local health authorities. They impose the quarantine measures. We have a close and good relationship with the local health authority in Leverkusen. Don’t forget: The tight timing of the testing is obviously designed to identify positive cases early and to prevent further infection.

…possibility of fans gathering outside stadiums: There are ongoing conversations between Bayer 04 and the fans. And, of course, we appeal to our supporters to watch the Werkself games at home in front of the television. On top of that, we have great confidence in our supporters. They are well aware that you can’t joke about this coronavirus pandemic. Feedback from our fans has shown they are conscious of their responsibility – both in view of their own health and also in the knowledge they could harm Bayer 04.

…the next steps before the restart: The DFL general meeting is tomorrow. After that, we’ll know exactly which matchday we’ll start with. We will start full training again and the regular coronavirus testing has and will serve as one of the preconditions for that. The hotel we use depends on the start date and venue. We’ll make that decision in the next day or two.

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