Comment on the Corona rules of the DFL: Errors in detail – Sport

Hamburger SV fans recently needed a thick skin and a dose of sarcasm to be able to process the sporting performance of the traditional club, which had fallen into second division. These qualities, learned over the years, were put to the test again last week, because the closer the game against the Erzgebirge team from Aue, scheduled for Saturday afternoon, got, the more hopeless HSV’s situation seemed.

The Rothosen supporters went through every conceivable scenario on social networks: Couldn’t the mascot Dino Hermann use his imposing rear end to stabilize Hamburg’s defense as an exception? And what about Horst Hrubesch? The mere presence of the now 70-year-old header monster, some believed, could be enough to cause fear and terror in the opposing penalty area.

The use of these HSV special forces was not necessary in the end, which was a pity for the German Football League (DFL), as a comeback of the European champion Hrubesch had certainly broken the ratings record for a second division game. Referring to its own Corona rules catalogue, the DFL only canceled the game on the night from Friday to Saturday, provoking incomprehension and outrage in the industry: The Auer were angry because they had already made their way to the Hanseatic city; The Hamburgers were not very enthusiastic about this nail-biter – and at Fortuna Düsseldorf some no longer understood the world because their away game in Paderborn had to take place despite comparable circumstances by DFL decision.

According to the rules of the game, a club must have more than 15 players

The latest Omikron variant is still on the rise in Germany, and with the number of infections, the upheavals in German professional football are also increasing. This weekend, the game against FC Augsburg was also canceled due to numerous corona cases in the squad of 1. FSV Mainz 05 after the game against Dortmund last week. In making these decisions, the DFL continues to refer to the regulation last amended on May 14, 2020. And that brings us to the core of the problem: The catalog has been overtaken by the requirements of the present (more and more contagious virus variants) and would have to be subjected to a serious revision.

According to the applicable rules of the game, a club must have more than 15 players, including at least nine licensed players and at least one goalkeeper. What initially sounds like a fair compromise that ensures a minimum level of operational safety during the pandemic looks very different in practice. Because the mistake is in the detail, as the example of HSV shows: If there hadn’t been an additional corona infection on Friday evening, the Hamburg team would have had just enough operational players.

Where “operational” is less a fact than a definition of the DFL. Because it still rates suspended and injured players as “available” in March 2022 – at HSV, Jonas Meffert, who was suspended, and two players suffering from a cruciate ligament tear were included in the 15 squad calculation. Everyone can imagine what a starting eleven would have looked like against Aue – and what people would have thought of it in Ingolstadt, Sandhausen or Dresden, where the Erzgebirge team is fighting against relegation.

Three months ago, Oliver Kahn called for the rules to be overhauled

About two years ago, this makeshift solution was still used to somehow bring the game operations, which had been interrupted in the meantime, to the finish line. At that time, society and those responsible for the club were ready for a kind of solidarity pact, but new knowledge requires new measures. Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn, for example, called three months ago to renovate the rules so that they remain comprehensible. There are plenty of arguments: It lacks any logic when long-term injured footballers are listed as “fit for action” – and where there is a lack of logic, dissonance is not far away, as one or the other public quarrel between club officials recently proved. In addition, the (time) pressure is currently not as enormous as it was in the past two years, when the football calendar was overflowing due to the Corona break and major events that had to be caught up. However, the DFL says: Equal rights for everyone. Changing the rules this season would disadvantage those who have already faced difficult conditions.

According to the rules, Fortuna Düsseldorf was able to provide enough players for the game against Paderborn on Saturday and sent warm greetings to the DFL via Twitter: “Let’s go”, it was written, “By the way, we’re offering keeper Kai Eisele as a field player.” He was not used and despite the Rumpfelf, the Düsseldorfers won a 1-1 draw. The longing for compensatory justice should now be great among the fortunes. However, it is more likely that the infection process will contribute to this than the regulars of the DFL.

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