Bayern Munich's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer lifts the trophy as Bayern Munich players celebrate after winning the Bundesliga crown in May last year. Image Credit: AFP

The German league announced Wednesday that the Bundesliga will resume on May 15 after being given the go-ahead to restart by Angela Merkel's government with matches to be played behind closed doors.

The German Football League (DFL) say the top two divisions will restart amid strict hygiene measures, making the Bundesliga the first top European league to resume since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers set the date for the games to begin in a telephone conference on Wednesday.

German media had earlier reported May 21 was a possible candidate.


Germany’s influential DFL football league has long urged restarting play, which it says is vital for a sector that employs 56,000 people in Germany.

It has offered authorities a strict infection control plan based on numerous coronavirus tests, which it says would allow the competition to be relaunched with low risk.

Health Minister Jens Spahn has judged that the scheme “makes sense and can serve as an example for other forms of professional sport,” although “it has to be lived up to”.

German clubs stand to recoup 300 million euros ($325 million) in TV rights if they are allowed to contest the nine remaining match days in the Bundesliga season.

That could help soak up some of their financial losses, with more than a dozen of the 36 first- and second-division teams on the brink of bankruptcy according to media reports. The DFL will hold a general meeting by video conference on Thursday where representatives from the clubs will finalise details of the restart. Most have already begun training again in anticipation.