EIce hockey, handball, volleyball and other team sports – all of them had to abandon their seasons due to the corona pandemic. And finish. Only soccer is rolling again? That’s not true. The Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) has developed an interesting concept to bring its season to an end. The decision is imminent.
This Tuesday, the cabinet of the Bavarian state government should decide whether the planned final tournament can be held. Three weeks, ten teams, one location: From June 6th to 28th, the basketball teams in Munich would search for their champions in a kind of modified play-off mode with ghost games. The hygiene concept goes beyond that of German professional football. Around 250 players, coaches and referees would go into quarantine for this.
“The aim is to keep the league and the clubs permanently. It is a struggle for survival, ”the BBL explains its attempt to resume in a statement. “The league and the clubs are obliged by partners for corresponding services. Club managers are responsible for their livelihoods and have to work towards safeguarding their company and their employees. ”Important here: Corona tests do not use the capacities that are required elsewhere. “It’s not about continuing the season at any price, but not giving up without a fight in the sporting sense.”
The type of league continuation is intended to do justice to all sides: those who prefer a demolition for economic reasons – such as Braunschweig – and those who want to restart the game. Ten of the 17 league participants have registered, so that the champions will be played in two groups of five with subsequent play-offs. Quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final will be played as a return leg. Among them is Alba Berlin. Manager Marco Baldi hopes for the “OK” from the Bavarian authorities.
“Despite all the adversities, that would be that: a filigree bridge into the next season. And an important step into the future in this time that is so challenging for everyone, ”he wrote on the association’s website. The 58-year-old justifies the decision to participate in the tournament with responsibility for the approximately 150 employees in the club. “We made our decision to the best of our knowledge and belief, and in the interests and services of the people in and around our club, despite – or rather because of all considerations – we are aware of the risks and uncertainties of this step.”
In Group B, Alba would initially meet Brose Bamberg, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, Rasta Vechta and Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt. Group A is played by FC Bayern Munich, Hakro Merlin Crailsheim, EWE Baskets Oldenburg, BG Göttingen and ratiopharm Ulm. For the remaining seven teams, the season ended prematurely; after the end of the tournament, they are classified among the other ten teams in the end of the season. There will be no relegation.
The tournament presents the participating teams with personnel challenges as some players are no longer available. The BBL has therefore decided that the clubs may hire two professionals for the tournament. For example, Ulm has secured the services of the Austrian Thomas Klepeisz.
The 28-year-old comes from the Löwen Braunschweig and is to replace the American Killian Hayes on the point guard position. “Since my current contract expired, I was free to choose to take part in the tournament,” says Klepeisz. Rasta Vechta, however, announced that it has not yet fully assembled the squad for the tournament.
The continuation or its value is not uncontroversial. National player Andreas Obst, for example, welcomes it, but sees the tournament qualitatively critically. In “player circles this is a big topic, there are titles like the Corona Cup winner or the tournament for the golden toilet paper,” said the 23-year-old Ulmer of the “Mitteldeutsche Zeitung”. The German championship does not have the same status as usual with this mode and the requirements. It also alludes to the team line-up, since not all “American players come back from home”.
No contact with relatives
The concept that the BBL presented for the resumption of special game operations is based in part on that for the first and second Bundesliga, but is even more strict. The teams should prepare for the tournament at their home locations for around three weeks, but are allowed to stay in private environments under strict conditions. Only after two negative tests on the Sars CoV-2 pathogen can you start training. For international professionals, a 14-day domestic quarantine applies when returning to Germany – many players, especially from the United States, traveled to their home during the Corona crisis.
During the tournament, the clubs are completely isolated from the public and are accommodated in a hotel all the time – wellness area excluded and everyone in a single room. In groups of up to three people, they are allowed to leave the hotel for a walk or jog, shopping, for example, is prohibited, as is contact with relatives or touching the elevator buttons. And, so it says: be careful when using cell phones and other people’s Playstation.
There are two groups during the game. The so-called active zone comprises up to 51 people. Each team may designate a maximum of 22 people including trainers, physiotherapists, doctors and carers. There are also referees, league staff and a photographer. The passive zone includes a maximum of 61 people: timekeepers and clerks, technical staff, security services and media representatives. Anyone entering the hall must wear mouth / nose protection; fever is measured.
There is not much left of the traditions: no spectators, no enemies, no mascots, no cheerleaders, no shaking hands. And also no floor wipers that blow away the sweat. Team members do that. A lot will be missing, but sport could live this way. Besides football, basketball would be the only major team sport to resume its season in the corona pandemic. “Sport is very important in people’s lives,” says the BBL, “it ensures variety. Basketball can help people return to normal in small steps. ”