Successful return to professional men’s football (soccer) competition after the COVID-19 shutdown: a cohort study in the German Bundesliga


There has been considerable debate about the desirability of a restart of professional sport during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular football (soccer).1 2 Of course, players and clubs have an interest in continuing their professional activities. However, proper safety precautions have to be put in place to ensure the health of players and officials (and requirements for proper infection protection for all citizens) and the integrity of competition.3

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2019/20 season of the German first professional football league (‘Bundesliga’) was interrupted after the match between Mönchengladbach and Cologne on 11 March 2020. On 17 March the DFB’s (German national football association) medical committee made recommendations for home-based training and management of players with suspected COVID-19 disease as well as for training in small groups. Two weeks later the DFL formally appointed the Sports Medicine/Special Match Operations Task Force: four medical doctors, including co-authors of

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