Professional soccer in corona crisis: training ball rolls again

While Werder Bremen’s professional footballers are now allowed to train again, VfL Wolfsburg has been reported for the practice sessions.

In small groups, the Werder professionals are now allowed to run around the training ground again Photo: Imago/nordphoto

Werder Bremen’s professional soccer players have been training again since Tuesday. As one of the last professional teams and under the strict conditions. Senator of the Interior Ulrich Maurer (SPD) approved on Monday a training in groups up to four persons, in order to do justice to the Right to exercise the profession" to do justice. The catalog of conditions includes 16 individual points from preventive entrance screening to the minimum distance of 1.5 meters to the ban on publishing training times. The players must shower at home.

Despite the conditions, Werder managing director Frank Baumann is satisfied with the solution "from a sporting point of view. A few days earlier, he still saw Werder "publicly exposed" because Maurer had criticized Werder’s application for permission to hold limited training sessions, saying "That’s not a good signal to the Republic."

Werder has been in the grind of the conflict Maurer is fighting with the German Football League (DFL) for quite some time. The climate has been poisoned since Bremen became the only German state to charge the DFL for the costs of police deployments at high-risk matches, which then passes the fee notices on to Werder.

At the Bundesliga matchday in mid-March, which was scheduled to have no spectators, Maurer rushed ahead with a ban on Werder’s home game before the DFL canceled the matchday altogether. While the DFL is apparently working to continue the season with so-called ghost matches without spectators starting in mid-May, Maurer has "grave doubts" that will happen.

Alternate venues under discussion

All parties involved emphasize the necessity of a nationwide regulation, but the press is already speculating about possible alternative venues for Werder if ghost matches were allowed everywhere but not in Bremen. There is talk of Wolfsburg or even Hamburg.

Since the beginning of the week, HSV and FC St. Pauli have allowed up to seven players to pass the ball to each other at the same time; at Hannover 96, the number is limited to four, as in Bremen. VFL Wolfsburg has been training in small groups again since March 23. Spacing and hygiene rules everywhere are similar to those in Bremen.

VfL Wolfsburg reported

Trouble threatens in Wolfsburg from another side: An anonymous advertiser doubts whether the training of the VfL is the exercise of a professional activity, since the game operation rests. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating. The DFL plans to discuss the continuation of match operations on April 17.