The 3. Liga (3rd Division) will resume its current season on the 30th of May. The technical prerequisites of this decision have been created by DFB headquarters, with an adjustment to the general schedule. The decision was circulated in writing. The return of the 3. Liga takes into account the political atmosphere, and in numerous states there are now notices for the resumption of play, including for the 3. Liga. The continuation of the season is dependent on the hygiene rules that the DFB and DFL have developed and implemented together for all competitions in German football, and the same rules that are currently being used in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga.
Matchday 28 of the 3. Liga will start on May 30th after a three-month break. The rest of the season is to be played with two matchdays a week, as eleven matchdays are still left of the season. The season is set to end with Matchday 38 on the 4th of July. The eventual play-offs for promotion to the Bundesliga 2. are set to be completed by July 11th. This structural framework was carried out in close coordination with the 3. Liga Committee. Possible deviations from the schedule, due to for example team quarantines, are still possible.
The 20 clubs in the 3. Liga have been informed. The clubs whose venues are permitted to host matches are now actively encouraged to seek further clarification from the authorities. If a club does not have permission to play at its usual stadium when a home game is scheduled, it will have to play at another venue, according to the statutes.
DFB President Fritz Keller said: “It is important and necessary that there is now clarity about the schedule in the 3. Liga going forward. The 3. Liga is a nationwide professional league, and negative political climates in isolated locations should not prevent the majority of games in Germany. We ultimately hope there will be a uniform outcome and that everywhere in the 3. Liga as planned will be playing once again. We have to keep in mind that we are experiencing an exceptional situation with no simple solutions.”
Peter Frymuth, DFB vice-president (leagues and football development): “The go-ahead signal for the 3. Liga has been given. We will now quickly implement all further measures. The 3. Liga now has more planning certainty and a common goal that every club can work towards. There are two things at the centre of this: the diligent implementation of the hygiene protocol and the opportunity to have the results of the season determined through sporting merit. What’s necessary now is the solidarity of all those who feel a connection to the 3. Liga. For several years now, the league’s motto has been ‘Show us.’ At the same time, it is an obligation to return to the pitch together and to see the season completed.”
Tom Eilers, chairman of the 3. Liga committee: “The clubs playing in the 3. Liga now have a similar amount of time to prepare for their first game as the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs had. Resuming play while adhering to the current rules and regulations will of course be a challenge for every third-division club. However, it’s also an opportunity, because we will be the first third-tier league in the world to resume play.”
The timings for the first two matchdays have already been determined. The 3. Liga will resume with seven games on Saturday, 30th May, followed by three on Sunday, 31st May. The following weekend will see ten games played, with one on Friday evening, six on Saturday and three games on Sunday. The mid-week matchdays will be spread out over Tuesday and Wednesday, with five matches on each day.
After the conditions dictating how each match will be run have been set, the DFB Bundestag will meet on Monday to discuss how to proceed with the remainder of the 3. Liga season. During this meeting of the DFB’s highest decision-making body, its 262 delegates will also vote on the creation of a ‘3. Liga economic stability’ task force. If necessary, if the season is potentially terminated at a later date, the DFB Bundestag will also authorize the DFB executive board to make a decision on how to proceed in this case, and which decisions relating to promotion/relegation, as well as the following season will be made.