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Germany’s 3. Liga discuss potential season restart

3. Liga

The German FA, Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB), and the 3. Liga (3rd Division) committee used today’s meeting with the 20 clubs to gather a consensus opinion on the current situation. One thing remains assured: the current suspension of 3. Liga action will continue beyond 30th April.

In an open poll, ten clubs spoke in favour of a potential restart of the current season, as long as government guidelines are followed and approval is given, as well as with strict adherence to health and safety protocol.

The following clubs spoke in favour of a continuation: SpVgg Unterhaching, FC Ingolstadt, TSV 1860 München, Eintracht Braunschweig, FC Bayern München II, FC Hansa Rostock, FC Würzburger Kickers, KFC Uerdingen, Viktoria Köln and Chemnitzer FC.

This approach is in line with the recommendation of the 3. Liga committee, which was agreed upon unanimously during a meeting on Saturday before being presented to clubs today. As far as its possible, the aim remains to finish the current season by 30th June.

1. FC Kaiserslautern and SV Meppen were the only two clubs to abstain from voting, while the remaining eight clubs voted to voluntarily terminate the season. These were: SV Waldhof Mannheim, 1. FC Magdeburg, Hallescher FC, FSV Zwickau, SC Preußen Münster, SG Sonnenhof Großaspach, FC Carl Zeiss Jena and MSV Duisburg.

To be clear, this exercise was intended to gather the opinion of the 3. Liga clubs – not to make any final decisions. The 3. Liga committee, and subsequently the responsible DFB committee, will now proceed to take care of further arrangements and any related questions. Any potential decisions regarding the resumption of the season must then be taken by the DFB presidium or board.

A potential continuation of the season corresponds to the statutory tasks for the DFB. The statute stipulates the organisation, implementation and safeguarding of the game, of course independently of any government authority. Furthermore, as organiser and central marketer of the 3. Liga, the DFB would expose itself to significant liability and damages claims in the event of a voluntary termination of the current season. These fundamental considerations were made clear by DFB general secretary Friedrich Curtius and the DFB’s treasurer Stephan Osnabrügge in a video conference.

Peter Frymuth, responsible for the 3. Liga as DFB vice president said: “Now we have an actual idea of the general consensus within the 3. Liga. With that we have taken a very important step. The results of the poll are to be respected and accepted. Even though there is no unanimous view, we have a majority opinion on how we should proceed should governmental restrictions change. With this mind, the DFB, as the league’s primary organiser, will continue to explore further testing processes and measures. One thing is clear: the overall wellbeing of the league is above individual interests.”

Tom Eilers, chairman of the 3. Liga committee said: “Ultimately, a small majority of 3. Liga clubs voted in favour of the league’s recommendations. We have had intensive discussions in recent days and weeks, in the course of which unfortunately an appropriate tone has been lost. It is my hope and clear expectation that the 3. Liga will become more objective, honest and calm again with regards to our shared cause – specifically, ensuring the 3. Liga’s structure as a professional league and protecting its future.”

Ahead of the 3. Liga meeting, all clubs received the plan to guarantee the best possible medical framework in the event of a resumption of the season. These guidelines developed by a joint task force between the DFB and DFL include strict hygiene measures and testing, as well as permanent monitoring. The plan for the 3. Liga corresponds to that presented by the DFL for the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga. The plan differs only on organisational nuances, for example the number of people allowed in the three zones inside and outside the stadium. The number of people required to work in sport, from organisation through to media, should be reduced to a minimum on matchdays. For the 3. Liga, this has been set to 210 people. The health and hygiene specifications are identical to the DFL leagues.

As part of a potential resumption of play, 3. Liga and FLYERALARM Frauen-Bundesliga clubs will benefit from €7.5m in financial support provided by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL). This pot will be used to cover costs for testing, which would otherwise have been assumed by the clubs. This was decided upon unanimously by the DFB presidium.

Additional payments will be shared out proportionally among the 25 participating clubs after each completed matchday. This should help cover additional costs and missing income amassed by resuming football without spectators in the stadium.

DFB vice president Peter Frymuth added: “In the current exceptional situation caused by coronavirus, it’s more important than ever for football to stand together. In such a tense situation, the solidarity payments made by the DFL and its clubs will ease the burden on 3. Liga and FLYERALARM Frauen Bundesliga clubs, making a resumption of all professional leagues possible as soon as the governmental restrictions allow it.”

DFB president Fritz Keller already spoke recently about the additional financial aid provided by the DFL, praising the “great act of solidarity” and thanking all 36 Bundesliga clubs. Support will be provided through a DFL fund, in which Champions League participants FC Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer 04 Leverkusen had already made €20m available.

(Deutscher Fußball-Bund)