After the clear unanimous vote of all 32 GFL clubs for a further 2020 season planning, this topic is being discussed fiercely by the clubs, the fans and in the forums. GFL league spokesman Carsten Dalkowski answers the questions that Holger Weishaupt from american-football.com has summarized from the football scene.
The clubs unanimously asked the league management in a video conference to plan a 2020 season. Before that, 10 out of 16 GFL teams could read which would be against a 2020 season. Where does this turnaround come from?
First of all, after the last few weeks of hard work, I was very pleased that all 32 Bundesliga clubs unanimously submitted the application to the AFVD Presidium for the “General Conditions for GFL Autumn 2020” Have accepted. We are all aware that we are in the same boat. So conditions had to be created, found and formulated that could be accepted by all associations. I think we succeeded in doing this with this paper. We have thus taken into account all possible challenges with the clubs and operating companies on site and yet preserved the unity of the league itself – even if there are clubs that cannot participate in regular game operations in autumn.
The clubs have to decide by June 15th whether they want to play or not. There should be no sanctions in the event of no-show, what happens to the license fee in this case?
The license statute remains untouched in this point and should not be changed. The GFL license is also not returned by any club. Only the waiver of participation in the competitive game operation should be until June 15. be explained. In this respect, the license fee remains in full. This was also part of the unanimous decision. Even in the crisis, the GFL clubs are aware of their responsibility for the joint league and the association.
Is there a minimum number of participants for the GFL and GFL 2?
The clubs that have decided to participate in a possible game operation in the autumn should then vote on this. Personally, I can imagine that everything can be played from 4 teams.
The deadline and “point of no return” for a final decision is July 26th, 2020. What happens if teams want to play, but collision or contact training should not be allowed in their federal states?
This case is addressed in the application for the new framework conditions. The decision for a possible game operation in autumn should then be made unanimously among those involved.
Are there test concepts for the players, coaches and those responsible? What happens if there are infected participants during the season? And what happens if this would perhaps only be recognized after playing games?
If we have learned one thing in this crisis, it is that we cannot make advance decisions about developments in the future. The requirements are controlled solely by the development of the pandemic and the reactions of governments and authorities. We can (unfortunately) only react to it.
Will SPORT1 broadcast games from the six-week season plus playoffs?
As soon as the participants of the autumn league have been determined, we will certainly also talk to our partner SPORT1 about possible broadcasts.
Is the German Bowl still planned in the Commerzbank-Arena?
It would be very desirable for our sport if the development of the pandemic would allow the German Bowl to be played in Frankfurt in the Commerzbank-Arena. This is certainly still the plan. Wouldn’t that be a great way to end such a difficult year?
I guess so.
In Belarus, the football season was continued despite the corona crisis, in Poland and Hungary, games with spectators are permitted with immediate effect, subject to distance rules, and the Bundesliga is also currently planning the start of the 2020/2021 season with limited audience numbers. What are the GFL’s considerations here?
The proposed framework conditions provide that in addition to the sporting and medical aspects, the profitability of a game operation is checked very carefully before the league starts in autumn. Ghost games are unthinkable in the GFL. Certainly, certain hygiene concepts can be implemented in most Bundesliga stadiums. But as soon as the cost / benefit ratio is impaired too much, you may have to say at some point: then it just doesn’t work. But here too: The teams that (can) approach this matter optimistically do not want to let the chance of a game run – even under possibly different conditions – be taken away.
Regarding the discussion about the start of the season, there were also objections that there might not be enough referees available. What is the current status here?
At no time was there such an objection from the Referees Association towards the GFL. Should a game be possible in autumn from a sporting and medical point of view, the GFL referees will certainly do their part to make it a success.
You are in close contact with the CFL, what is the current status of planning in Canada?
Heads are smoking in Canada too. In addition to a shortened schedule, a complete cancellation of the season is still conceivable. Similar to us, at some point you can no longer play. The Canadian professional teams certainly have a few more options, especially when it comes to hygiene concepts. A tournament mode in one or two cities is also being considered.
There is information from the NFL that they are testing face protection masks together with the outfitter Oakley, which can be worn completely behind the face mask and should be suitable for use in sports. When the AFVD thought about such a solution in its strategy paper, it was laughed at, something like that would be unthinkable in American football, now the NFL is working on exactly such a solution. What do you think of this and is it also conceivable to use it in Germany?
In such a situation there should be no prohibition of thinking in order to keep the sport alive. I also consider the discussion to be absolutely necessary. Everyone who made “fun of” this discussion obviously underestimated that the alternative could be “no football”. And not just for this year, but possibly also for the next few years. I think it’s okay to think “out of the box” to save our sport. Regardless of whether you define it as a collision or contact sport. Presumably he is both.
And if the helmet evolution needs a full visor in the future, then that’s the way it is. The equipment in particular is subject to constant and considerable development anyway. Now there is probably another hygiene factor. I’m really looking forward to the development. I cannot imagine that German football could fail because of such possible changes.
If there is a game, a reduced number of viewers will definitely be expected. Could a paid live stream be a possible compensation?
That would certainly also be a discussion for the future, but under the current conditions in the GFL I can’t imagine that yet.
And finally the question to the President of the Marburg Mercenaries: What is the planning there, will there be games with spectators in the Georg-Gassmann-Stadion?
We will do everything we can to enable our members, partners and sponsors, players and, ultimately, fans to play GFL football in the Georg Gaßmann Stadium this year. We also see this as a basic mandate through our association statutes. And as soon as we can overcome the sporting and medical hurdles, we will also find a solution to the economic challenges.
Source / Photo: © Marburg Mercenaries – Carsten Dalkowski