At an Extraordinary Members Assembly of the DFL held by video conference, the clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 again discussed the conditions for the upcoming 2020-21 season. Topics included the updated medical and hygiene-related occupational health and safety concept developed by the DFL’s and DFB’s ‘Sports Medicine / Special Match Operations Task Force’. The Extraordinary Members Assembly unanimously decided to add the concept and the revised version of the ‘Information Manual on Diagnostics and Monitoring for Training and Match Operations in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2’ as an appendix to the DFL regulations. The concept focuses on the occupational health and safety of employees involved in match operations, such as players, trainers, coaches and media representatives. The concept should be viewed independently of the stadium-specific concepts developed by the individual clubs which concern the potential return of stadium spectators. It should also be viewed independently of the related decisions of the Extraordinary Members Assembly of 4 August in the interest of a uniform approach regarding fans of away teams, standing areas, serving of alcohol and tracing chains of infection.
The DFL has already published the concept, updated by the Task Force under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Tim Meyer, and sent it to the clubs in the preceding weeks. The concept takes into account the more specifically defined occupational health and safety requirements set out in the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety regulations, issued by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The statutory insurance association for occupational accidents, VBG, which is also responsible for football, considers the concept to be compliant with the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety regulations. With this in mind, the clubs in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are responsible for implementing the occupational health and safety measures set out in the concept. The clubs’ responsibility also includes the possibility of sanctioning their players and other employees on the basis of employment contracts in the event that said players or other employees violate the concept’s rules of conduct outside of the immediate preparation, organisation and execution of a match. Other violations by players or clubs of their (organisational) obligations can be sanctioned by the DFL or DFB. Now that they are integrated in the DFL statutes, the concept and the information manual are binding on all clubs.
Looking ahead to the matches of the coming season, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs also used the virtual meeting to consider the maximum number of substitutions. In both leagues, as has recently already been the case, five substitutions will be permitted per match. In the 2020-21 season, each team will once again have three opportunities during the match, as well as the half-time interval to make substitutions. The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which is responsible for the rules of the game, had raised the possibility of such an adjustment to the permitted number of substitutions before the special match operations started in the past 2019-20 season and subsequently approved it for the 2020-21 season as well.
The increased number of substitutions is enshrined in the DFL regulations accordingly – as is the expansion of the range of shirt numbers permitted in both leagues to include numbers up to 49 as a result of some professional clubs’ longer registration lists (primarily due to the inclusion of junior players).
In addition, the DFL Members Assembly decided to adjust the licensing process for the 2020-21 season. Due to the continuing uncertainty with regard to financial planning, the second part of the licensing process (examination of economic performance during the season) will be suspended in the 2020-21 season insofar as the DFL will make no formal decision on the confirmation of economic performance. The clubs will continue to submit the relevant documents by 31 October, and the DFL will remain in close contact with the clubs about their specific liquidity situation. As things stand, the licensing process will proceed as usual in the 2021-22 season.
Furthermore, the Extraordinary Members Assembly decided that in the coming season it will still be possible to play a match in a different stadium at short notice for compelling, overriding legal, organisational and/or safety reasons. After the corresponding decision in May, this adjustment already applied during the special match operations during the past 2019-20 season. This is because, given the nature of the coronavirus pandemic, it is conceivable that in some circumstances, a purely regional or local outbreak would make holding a match at the intended venue temporarily impossible, whereas play could go ahead at another location.
Please click here to view the current version of the medical and hygiene-related concept.