Bundesliga clubs agree lockdown extension to April 30 and target May return

Games had been halted since mid-March, but hopes are growing that they might resume a month from now

epa08323734 (FILE) - A file picture of Bayern's Robert Lewandowski (R) and Dortmund's Thomas Delaney (L) shaking hands during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in Munich, Germany, 06 April 2019.  As media reports players of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund agreed on a 20 % pay cut for the time the Bundesliga is interrupted due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  EPA/LUKAS BARTH-TUTTAS *** Local Caption *** 55108354
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German Bundesliga clubs on Tuesday approved measures to suspend the season for a further four weeks due to the coronavirus crisis, amid reports that games would resume from the first weekend in May.

German Football League (DFL) directors announced plans last week to extend the current two-week suspension until April 30, a decision approved by Germany's 36 professional clubs in a video conference on Tuesday.

"The board felt a lot of support (from the clubs)," said DFL president Christian Seifert, adding that league was "sticking together".

Games had been halted since mid-March, but hopes are growing that they might resume a month from now.

Earlier Tuesday, Kicker weekly had reported that the DFL now planned to resume the season from the first weekend of May, with games to be played behind closed doors.

Seifert did not confirm the reports, but said it was "still the case that we want to end the season by June 30".

Failure to complete the 2019/20 season would leave some clubs facing an "existential threat" in June due to the loss of crucial TV rights revenues, he added.

The DFL president said that clubs were looking into how to host games with the fewest number of people present, but insisted there was still "no single plan".

He warned that games may have to be held behind closed doors "into next season and maybe even until the end of the year".

He added that scheduling was further complicated by the demands of other European leagues and federations, and called for "flexibility".

"The next season that will take place in the way we are accustomed to will be 2021/22."

In other measures agreed Tuesday, the DFL also relaxed its stringent league licensing rules, which see clubs docked nine points if they declare insolvency.

With nine games remaining in the top-flight Bundesliga, defending champions Bayern Munich hold a four-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund.