While North America yearns for sports to start up, the rest of the world is starting to inch back toward normalcy.
Just two days after the Korean Baseball Organization celebrated its Opening Day, Germany’s Bundesliga — the top flight of professional soccer in the country and one of the largest sporting leagues in the world — has been given the green light to resume during the second half of May.
The German Football League (DFL) will set a specific time of return within the month at a later date.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s government cleared the soccer league to start back up after it was suspended in mid-March during the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a country of over 83 million people, the virus has infected 167,000 people and killed nearly 7,000 people, but numbers have been largely on the decline with occasional spikes since April 10.
The Bundesliga is the first major sports league on the planet that ranks within the top-1o in revenue to have a concrete re-opening set. The NFL, MLB, English Premier League, NBA, Spanish La Liga, and NHL — all of whom have reported higher revenues — are still frozen; though it’s worth noting that the NFL is set to carry out a fully-scheduled season later this fall.
Two of Germany’s neighbors, the Netherlands and France, canceled their top-flight soccer seasons.
Much of it has to do with Germany’s strict and effective measures taken to combat the spread of coronavirus while the United States struggles with universal preventative orders, the availability of widespread testing, and citizens not properly following proper social-distancing protocol.
Most of the Bundesliga’s clubs have nine games remaining on the schedule, which is expected to be played out in empty stadiums.
League leaders Bayern Munich — one of the most popular clubs in the world with a strong following in the United States — are four points clear of second-place Borussia Dortmund.