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Opinion

Former Manchester City midfielder looking forward to Bundesliga games kicking off again in May

5 months ago
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The Bundesliga is on track to be the first major European league to be back playing football once again.

The Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert recently said that plans were being put in place for games to be played potentially as early as the beginning of May.

However, in a new interview, Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Gelson Fernandes says he thinks it is more likely to be late May.

In the UK it has been scandalous the way the government have mishandled the virus situation, slow to put social distancing measures in place, NHS staff having to do without adequate supplies of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), an absolute failure to get anywhere near the government’s own (very low) testing targets and so on. The broken promises, avoiding questions and the excuses are getting ever more embarrassing at the governments daily briefings.

Whereas in Germany it has been a very different story, a far more professional approach and level of planning have seen them avoid the scandal engulfing their UK counterparts and the number of deaths from the virus has been far lower as well.

The measures put in place in Germany to deal with the virus have also meant that now football has now been able to start taking steps towards returning in the Bundesliga.

German clubs have now returned to training, initially training in groups of three or four with no contact, working on things such as passing and shooting drills.

Meanwhile, only three players are allowed in each dressing room as an extra precaution.

Fernades previously played for both Man City and Leicester, now he is looking forward to getting back into Bundesliga action and to finish the season.

Interesting as well listening to the Swiss midfielder talking about how players, fans and clubs are all working together during this virus crisis, compared to what we are seeing in the Premier League. The disgraceful actions of the likes of Mike Ashley and Joe Lewis, billionaires who are exploiting government schemes to pass wage bills for ordinary club staff to the taxpayers.

Clubs in the Bundesliga are all majority owned by fans and players understand that there is no magic answer and are ready to work together with their clubs due to having far more trust, in accepting pay cuts etc.

Gelson Fernandes talking to BBC Sport:

“When we come back, it will be behind closed doors and I think that will be in late May.

“It is impossible to think that in June, July, August, we’d be playing in front of 50,000 people, that would be wrong.

“It’s nice to be on the pitch but we are being careful, washing hands and everything, we feel lucky.

“Physically when I was on my own we had to do a lot of bike work and I didn’t lose much fitness. We are now training but it’s not the same as matches.

“Playing behind closed doors is not nice but we have to do it. It’s not football but the interests are too big for us to not play.

“The club was very open with us (regarding finances); they explained to us everything, they explained to us what we are losing (the Eintracht Frankfurt players have agreed a 20% wage cut for three months), they explained to us why.

“We decided with the club to do a cut to our wages.

“There is no owner in German football (Bundesliga clubs are majority owned by fans, each one has to be owned at least one share over 50% by supporters, which is known as the 50+1 rule).

“We know that at the end of the season no owner can come and cover the losses we have, so we have to make sure the club survives and make sure the people in our club don’t lose their jobs.”

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