Soccer

Dynamo Dresden squad put in quarantine after pair of positive tests

Reuters, AP

Two players at German second-division side Dynamo Dresden tested positive for the new coronavirus on Saturday, putting on hold the club’s planned return to soccer next weekend.

The 2.Bundesliga side announced on its website that tests taken on Friday had revealed two new positive cases and local health authorities had ordered the team into quarantine. The infected players were not identified and according to the club have not shown any symptoms.

“After an intensive analysis of the situation, the health authority in Dresden… decided on Saturday that the entire second division squad, including the coaching and support team, must now go into a 14-day quarantine at home,” the club said.

“Due to the quarantine measures, (the club) will not be able to travel to Lower Saxony for the away game on matchday 26 as planned,” the club said.

Dresden were scheduled to play Hanover 96 next Sunday in its first game back following the stoppage that was caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

“In the past few weeks, we have made enormous efforts in terms of personnel and logistics in order to strictly implement all the prescribed medical and hygienic measures,” said Dynamo sports manager Ralf Minge.

“We are in contact with the responsible health authority and the DFL (German Football League) to coordinate all further steps. The fact is that we can neither train nor participate in the game in the next 14 days.”

The pair of positive results for COVID-19 were found in a third wave of tests conducted at the club on Friday as part of the league’s detailed set of regulations and guidelines for training and matches, established in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus as it approaches its scheduled May 16 restart.

However, the question of how to respond to positive tests is out of the hands of the league as German law states places such decisions in the hands of local health authorities.

DFL chief executive Christian Seifert told broadcaster ZDF that the aim was still to end the season.

“We said from the beginning that this is something we have to be prepared for,” he said. “If a 14-day quarantine is now scheduled, then we have to deal with it next week in the spirit of the game plan.”

“At the moment, however, this does not upset our timetable. The DFL has been working on this concept for a long time and we have always stressed that it is the local health authorities that decide on each individual case, on each team.”

“For the second division, where 81 matches are still to be played, two of Dynamo Dresden’s matches cannot be played at the moment. But we are not changing our goal to finish the season.”

Earlier Saturday, Peter Dabrock, the former chairperson of the German Ethics Council, criticized the decision to resume soccer.

“It will have a fatal effect on the overall compliance with the restrictions,” Dabrock told news agency DPA. “If the mantra is no contact, (keep) distance, hygiene, protection, but then of all things you allow a sport in which none of this can be adhered to from the beginning, then of course it will have the effect that people ask themselves, ‘Why do I have to stick to such restrictions?’”

The league has been on hold since mid-March because of the coronavirus outbreak which has brought soccer to a standstill around the world and Germany’s progress is being closely watched by other leagues.

On Monday, the DFL said it had registered 10 positive cases in a blanket test of 1,724 players and staff at its 36 first and second division clubs.

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