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Testing key to Bundesliga restart

Sam Preston April 28, 2020
Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images

The proposal to restart the Bundesliga on 9 May will likely spark intense interest from every other major league.

Since the start of the pandemic, the issue of how best to get professional football back up and running has not been far from the agenda.

In the Premier League, there is too much money sloshing around for those who hold the power to give up on the current campaign.

STEVEN GERRARD TO ASTON VILLA IS WRONG.

There appears to be a prevailing school of thought that the return of the country’s national game at elite level would boost the mood of the nation at such a testing time.

Photo by SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP via Getty Images

But it may strike the wrong tone. Families up and down the country are mourning the thousands who have died in recent months, with limited numbers permitted to attend their funerals due to social distancing measures.

Nevertheless, the Premier League will no doubt be watching intently to see whether the Bundesliga is allowed to return, and which elements of that strategy they are able to implement.

They will most likely find that the crucial factor is beyond their control.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasised the importance of testing and isolating cases throughout this crisis.

And it appears that Germany’s testing capacity is the bedrock of its proposal to resume the Bundesliga.

Fate of the top flight depends on testing

The increase in testing required to regularly test the players to the extent that cases are rooted out as early as possible and do not derail the plans makes up a fraction of Germany’s overall capacity.

In the UK, the testing situation remains very different.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged 100,000 tests to be carried out by the end of April.

At the time of writing, capacity remains far below that, with the government home testing kits for key workers running out within hours.

And the sheer scale of testing which would be required to bring the Premier League back is simply not even close to being feasible at present.

For all the desperation from the powers that be to get the Premier League back up and running, testing and isolating cases holds the key.

And that is out of the control of every single club and owner across the top flight.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.