The former governor of Burgenland warns that many of the country’s 15,000 sports clubs will die away.
It has become more likely that the Bundesliga season will be canceled last Thursday. The requirement of the Ministry of Health to put the team of the infected and probably also of the opponent in quarantine in a positive corona test should make a continuation impossible. This, in turn, would put numerous clubs in massive financial difficulty.
Therefore, Sport Austria President Hans Niessl asked APA to all involved to find a solution. The Burgenlanders described the original “ghost game concept” of the league, which was only intended to isolate the person concerned in a positive test, as “a very good proposal. The league should now discuss this with the Ministry of Health in a few video conferences”.
Niessl proposed that the results of a scientific study by the Danish University of Aarhus be incorporated into the discussions, according to which the risk of infection in outdoor football was low. “There are new insights every day. That is why it can often make sense to rely on the time factor. Responsible handling of this problem should take place on the basis of recognized studies,” emphasized Niessl.
The Austrian professional clubs may not start team training before May 15th. Even if the release should take place immediately afterwards, you would still need two weeks’ notice and would then have to accommodate 14 match days (ten championship rounds, three matches Europa League play-off, cup final) by July 31.
“The time up to May 15th can be used to discuss measures,” said Niessl, referring to the fact that RB Leipzig will shortly be sending its kickers into quarantine to minimize the risk of infection. Failure to reach an agreement between the league and the authorities could have fatal consequences, said the Burgenland. “You have to try to find a way together, because it’s really about the survival of professional sports and also popular sports.”
Domino effect looms
In fact, a domino effect threatens if the league is abandoned. If even the top football league fails in Corona times due to the requirements of the Ministry of Health, this applies all the more to the amateur, women’s and youth leagues, but also to other team sports with direct physical contact. “It cannot be in the sense of social life that you can neither actively do sports nor consume it,” said Niessl.
The former governor of Burgenland warned of the death of many of the country’s 15,000 sports clubs. “A university professor once said that a lack of exercise is the epidemic of the 21st century. If the club structures no longer exist, how many will still play sports in the future?”
In this context, Niessl once again called for the 100 million euro aid to be released for sport. Sport Austria will inform the two million sports club members in an open letter on May 13 about the status quo in this regard. “Sport saves the health care system 530 million euros annually. If there is no longer any top-class and popular sport, it will cause extreme damage to the health care system,” said the 68-year-old.