The decision to suspend the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga seasons until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic has been ratified, with a task force established to aid the campaign's eventual continuation.

The German Football League (DFL) announced an extension to the hiatus a week ago and, during a video conference on Tuesday, the proposal was unanimously approved by all relevant parties.

Further measures were also agreed during the meeting, including the formation of a task force to oversee planning for "continuation of gaming and training operations", and temporary alterations to sanctions implemented for financial problems.

The DFL remains committed to finishing the season by the end of June, in line with the request from UEFA, and is planning on resuming action in controlled environments.

The "sports medicine/special game operations task force" will develop an outline for this situation.

"A medical task force has been established to create a concept with the aim of medically justifiable continuation of gaming and training operations," a DFL statement read. "In a first step, this will centrally document all COVID-19 cases at the clubs of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga.

"In addition, the commission is developing a procedure with which close, independent testing of players and other staff can be carried out, among other things, immediately before the matchdays.

"Furthermore, organisational measures in the stadium to avoid transmission (hygiene, disinfection, distance, etc.) as well as special processes in the game and training organisation are defined and uniformly laid down in a guideline. Close coordination with external experts and authorities is sought."

The DFL will also allow greater leeway with respect to clubs' potential financial issues in the current climate, confirming the nine-point deduction for opening insolvency proceedings has been suspended for this season.

The statement added: "This means for the current season that the deduction of nine points is suspended as a sanction for opening insolvency proceedings (Section 11 No. 5 of the licensing regulations).

"In the event of bankruptcy in the coming season, a penalty would be deducted of only three points. Furthermore, in the upcoming licensing procedure for the 2020-21 season, the clubs' liquidity situation will not be checked.

"However, the DFL prefers to review economic performance during the next season from the end of October to mid-September in order to get a realistic picture of the economic situation of the individual clubs as soon as possible based on the annual financial statements as of June 30, 2020.

"For the 2021-22 season, the licensing procedure is to be used again in the usual way - as a guarantee of the economic solidity and stability of German professional football."

The German Football League (DFL) has extended the suspension of the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A meeting earlier this month initially put the German season on hold until April 2, bringing the Bundesliga in line with the rest of Europe's so-called "big five" leagues.

However, with the COVID-19 outbreak still causing mass disruptions to everyday life across the world, the DFL has reviewed its stance and ruled out a return for football in the country before the end of April.

A statement read: "The presidium [of the DFL] is aware that all scenarios and options for action also depend on external factors, on the development of which the DFL and clubs have only limited or no influence at all: among other things, the further spread of the virus and the assessment of the situation by politics.

"Against this background, the presidium of the General Assembly will recommend a further suspension of game operations in the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga until at least April 30."

The German Football League (DFL) has extended the suspension of the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bundesliga has extended its ongoing suspension until April 2 but is prepared to complete the 2019-20 season behind closed doors to ensure clubs can survive a testing economic period.

Germany's top flight was the last of Europe's "big five" leagues to cease operations in light of the coronavirus outbreak, with only last weekend's games confirmed as being postponed at the time.

However, following a meeting on Monday, the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) confirmed its hiatus would take in the forthcoming round of fixtures in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga before making a further call over whether to reconvene after what was supposed to be the March international break at the end of this month.

The move brings the Bundesliga into line with the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1 and Serie A, which have all announced suspensions up until the first weekend of April at this stage. Ligue 1 is on hold until further notice.

Speaking at a media conference in Frankfurt, DFL chief executive Christian Seifert explained playing the remaining matches this season without fans might become a financial necessity for all clubs to remain in business.

"Nobody is a fan of matches behind closed doors but, for many clubs, they may be the only way to keep clubs in business," he said.

"I am aware that football is viewed as a billion-dollar business. But at the centre of it all is the game itself and the 56,000 jobs dependent on it every match day.

"Without sponsorship and TV income, those jobs and the very existence of clubs is in danger."

UEFA will host a video conference on Tuesday to discuss how to proceed with the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020, with solutions for domestic competitions within the ongoing crisis also set to be on the agenda.

This week's scheduled Champions League and Europa League fixtures, including Bayern Munich's game against Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt's respective ties with Rangers and Basel, were postponed.

The sporting calendar over the next few weeks looks extremely bare as events continue to be postponed or cancelled as a result of the threat of the coronavirus.

All of Europe's top five leagues have now been suspended, as the Bundesliga followed Serie A, LaLiga, Ligue 1 and the Premier League in calling a halt to proceedings just hours before its latest round of fixtures was due to kick off.

Golf's first major, the Masters, will not take place on April 9 as initially scheduled, while the Giro d'Italia, the final Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland, and marathons in London and Boston have all been affected by COVID-19, too.

With the number of confirmed cases worldwide now totalling over 140,000, we take a look at the latest round of postponements.

 

After the PGA Tour cancelled all events leading up the Masters, all eyes were on whether the prestigious event at Augusta National Golf Club would be called off until further notice. That news arrived on Friday, with organisers saying it was "appropriate under these unique circumstances".

With around four hours to go before the first Bundesliga game of matchday 26, the league was finally suspended due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Germany.

Defender Timo Hubers, who plays for 2. Bundesliga side Hannover, was one of the first players across Europe to test positive for the virus, and Paderborn, who had been due to Fortuna Dusseldorf on Friday night, were waiting on tests results for their players when news came down from the league.

Clubs will meet again on Monday, with the league advising a suspension until April 2.

World Cup qualifiers in Africa were suspended, while European clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona have stopped their players from training at their facilities for the time being.

As Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba encouraged people to "dab to beat coronavirus" and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp backed the decision to postpone the Premier League, Serie A clubs Sampdoria and Fiorentina reported positive cases involving their players in Italy, one of the worst-affected countries.

The country's major cycling race, the Giro d'Italia, will not begin as scheduled on May 9 as Hungary said it was unwilling to host the first three stages. The whole race was subsequently postponed.

Six Nations contest between Italy and England in Rome, originally slated for Saturday, had already been called off, and the only fixture of the tournament not to be postponed was put back indefinitely on Friday. Wales' clash with Scotland in Cardiff was finally called off the day before it was set to take place, while Sunday's Premiership Rugby Cup final between Sale Sharks and Harlequins has also been postponed.

South Africa's ODI tour of India will be rescheduled for another time, the first match having been washed out on Thursday, while the Boston Marathon will now take place on September 14. The new date for the London Marathon is October 4.

Elsewhere, NASCAR has postponed races in Atlanta and Miami over the next two weekends. Those races were initially going to be held without fans. All IndyCar Series races through April have been cancelled.

The German football league has proposed the suspension of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga from March 17 until April 2 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The continued spread of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the football and sporting calendar, with the top two leagues in Germany among many to be affected.

This weekend's Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga fixtures, including Bayern Munich's trip to Hertha Berlin on Saturday, will largely go ahead as planned behind closed doors.

However, Hannover's clash with Dynamo Dresden has been cancelled after two of their players tested positive for the respiratory condition.

The executive committee of the league (DFL) intends to postpone all other fixtures after this weekend until early April, with the hope of still concluding the campaign in the next few months.

"The goal is still to end the season by the summer - from a sporting point of view, but especially because premature ending of the season could have existential consequences for some clubs," a statement read.

"With a view to the coming weekend, both the DFL and the clubs will continue to maintain close contact with the Federal Ministry of Health and the local health authorities at the respective Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga stadium sites.

"The health of the entire population, and thus also of all football fans and all players in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga, has top priority.

"The DFL, as well as many clubs and fan groups, are appealing for people not to gather outside the stadiums either, thus doing their bit to protect the population.

"The clubs will reduce the number of personnel needed for the match to a minimum on the coming match day."

A final decision will be made at a meeting on Monday.

Meanwhile, UEFA announced on Friday that all Champions League and Europa League matches scheduled to take place next week have been postponed.

Wednesday has seen the coronavirus outbreak take further toll on sport across the world.

Further matches have been postponed while others appear unable to go ahead due to increased travel restrictions between affected countries.

Governing bodies are also taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by cancelling planned meetings, while others are calling for further changes to the calendar.

Here are some of the latest events to be impacted.

Football's governing body has decided to cancel the next FIFA Congress in Addis Ababa on June 5. It has also pushed back the coming FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, due to be on March 20, until June or July. Attendees may be required to join via a video link.

In France, the Coupe de la Ligue final on April 4 between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been postponed. The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said a new date would be announced in due course. It means the PSG-Metz and Lyon-Nimes Ligue 1 matches will be moved to the weekend of April 4-5 but be held behind closed doors. PSG will have Kylian Mbappe available against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, though: the striker is in the squad after overcoming illness, with L'Equipe among those to report he had tested negative for coronavirus.

Germany has seen the first confirmed instance of a footballer contracting coronavirus. Hannover defender Timo Hubers has tested positive but been praised by the club for his "absolutely exemplary" behaviour, as he immediately self-isolated before coming into contact with the rest of the squad.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will face Union Berlin on Saturday behind closed doors, and the latter's derby with Hertha Berlin on March 21 will take place under the same circumstances. Borussia Monchengladbach have urged fans not to gather outside the stadium ahead of Wednesday's match with Cologne.

FIFPro, the footballers' union, has urged governing bodies across the world "to respect the wishes of players to take short-term precautionary measures including suspending training or competitions". Steps are certainly being taken in Spain, where the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has recommended football at all levels beneath the top two professional leagues to be called off for two weeks. The RFEF will reportedly meet with league officials to discuss similar proposals for LaLiga and the Segunda Division.

Meanwhile, Roma's match with Sevilla in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday is off after the Italian club confirmed they had not been given permission by the government to fly to Andalusia. Getafe had already refused to travel for their game with Inter in Italy.

The big news in England was that Manchester City versus Arsenal was called off as a precaution after the Gunners came into contact with Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, who announced on Tuesday that he had caught the disease. In general, though, the UK has not been following the same stringent protocols as some other European nations and that is continuing for now. Arsenal's match with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday has not been called off, while England's planned friendlies at Wembley this month against Italy and Denmark are, at present, going ahead. Forest have also confirmed all players and staff have tested negative for coronavirus.

In Scotland, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says the domestic season must be completed, even if behind closed doors, "because people have earned the opportunity to get to the stage where everyone is at". League chief executive Neil Doncaster claimed last week that completing the Premiership season could become "very difficult".

The England and Wales Cricket Board has told supporters "to maintain good levels of hygiene" during England's tour of Sri Lanka. As a precaution, players and staff have been told to avoid casual interaction with fans, such as selfies and autographs.

In Bangladesh, the World XI v Asia XI matches that would have marked the birthday celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have been postponed, while the Indian Open has been called off following a consultation between the Indian Golf Union, the European Tour, the Asian Tour and tournament sponsors.

MotoGP has also announced that the Argentina Grand Prix has been moved to November. The opening race of the season in Qatar and the Grand Prix of the Americas have already been rescheduled.

Hannover defender Timo Hubers has tested positive for coronavirus, the 2. Bundesliga side have confirmed.

The club believe the 23-year-old contracted the virus at an event in Hildesheim on Saturday.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Hannover said Hubers immediately self-isolated after going to the doctor for tests once he had learned he had been in contact with someone who had the virus.

They believe it is unlikely Hubers could have passed the infection to the rest of the squad as he has not been in contact with them since last Saturday. However, as a precaution, all Hannover players and staff will be tested.

Sporting director Gerhard Zuber said Hubers behaved in "absolutely exemplary" fashion.

"He has himself shown no symptoms up to now," said Zuber. "When he found out that a person who had been with him at the event had tested positive, he reported directly to the doctor and temporarily went into quarantine at home."

Hubers will not be considered for Sunday's league match with Dynamo Dresden, but the rest of the team is preparing as normal, Hannover said.

However, all media and PR activities have been cancelled "for the time being" and the game is one of several in Germany this week that will be held behind closed doors.

Hannover sit ninth in Germany's second tier after 25 matches this season.

Bayern Munich have tied promising defensive midfielder Adrian Fein down to a three-and-a-half-year contract.

Fein, 20, spent last season on loan at Jahn Regensburg and has been plying his trade at Hamburg in the 2. Bundesliga this term, making 20 appearances in all competitions.

The Germany Under-21 international's contract was set to expire in 2021, but the fresh terms will keep him at the Allianz Arena for another two years.

"I was born in Munich, I spent many years of my youth at Bayern, so I'm very happy I could extend my contract," said Fein.

"The time at Hamburg is very important for me. I can gain match practice and make progress."

Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said: "Adrian has gained a lot of match practice in the 2. Bundesliga over the last one and a half years, making a lot of progress in his development.

"We're convinced of his potential, so we've bound him to Bayern over the long term."

Another football season is in full swing and a new edition of Football Manager is right around the corner following its beta release on Thursday.

The classic football management simulator is set for full release on November 19, but you can get early access to the beta version – which may contain bugs and issues developers Sports Interactive still need to fix – if you pre-purchase the game.

Therefore, it's time to start thinking about which club you might want to take the reins of. However, with playable leagues in over 50 countries, such a decision can often feel a little daunting.

Do you fancy yourself as a miracle worker who can take a tiny club to the Champions League final? Want to test yourself with a newly promoted side in a top league? Or how about managing an established club amid a rebuild?

Whichever's your preference, we've identified six clubs we can't wait to leave our mark on...


Norwich City - Premier League

Football Manager and developing young players go hand-in-hand, so Norwich City will surely be the first port of call for many. With Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis and Ben Godfrey, the Canaries have one of the strongest sets of young players in the Premier League, having returned after three years in the Championship. They've also attracted significant praise for their stylish brand of football under Daniel Farke over the past couple of years, something you might aim to emulate. Avoiding relegation will be the target, but their talent gives them a real platform to build on.


Stuttgart - 2.Bundesliga

A former Bundesliga-winning outfit that have fallen on hard times, Stuttgart suffered relegation to the second tier for the second time in four seasons in 2018-19. Last time, they bounced back at the first attempt - and they have the talent to do so again, given they managed to keep the likes of Santiago Ascacibar and Nicolas Gonzalez. The German club have a strong fanbase, massive stadium, history and a well-regarded academy. If you can steer them back on track, you could potentially awaken a sleeping giant.
 

Salford City - League Two

Backed by the wealthy Peter Lim and the Class of '92 crew and into the Football League for the first time in their history, Salford City represent an intriguing option in Football Manager 2020, particularly if you like the idea of taking a club from the lower leagues to the top but want a little helping hand at the start. There are few – if any – small clubs in England with comparable potential.


Paris FC - Ligue 2

That's right, France's capital has another club. Formed due to a split from Paris-Saint Germain in the early 1970s, Paris FC's history is rather less glamorous than their world-famous, Qatar-backed neighbours. They have yet to return to the top flight since their relegation in 1978-79, but last season's fourth-placed finish in Ligue 2 showed promise, even if they lost to Lens in the promotion play-offs. With €7million being poured into their facilities and the fact they're located in a city drowning in young talent, it might be a risky job to take but the rewards could be glorious. Their position at the foot of the table with eight points from 12 games in real life proves you might have your work cut out, however.
 

Sevilla - LaLiga

Revered sporting director Monchi is back at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and, after two years of relative underachievement in his absence, Sevilla's squad has been truly ripped up. Thirteen new players – including highly rated Jules Kounde and Rony Lopes – have arrived and eight departed on permanent deals. Several others left on loan, yet it's still a squad bursting at the seams, meaning there's potential to build up a decent budget as well. European football should ensure you still attract decent additions, while the club's academy is well-regarded. But with so much upheaval, is Champions League football a bridge too far? Because that'll be your target.


FC Andorra - Segunda B3

Although they should be competing in Spain's Tercera Division, FC Andorra – yes, from the country of the same name, as opposed to Spain – find themselves in Segunda B for the first time since the 1990s. Bought by Gerard Pique last December, the club paid a substantial fee to take the place of Reus in the third tier after they were relegated two divisions for failing to pay player wages. Getting out of Segunda B is a notoriously arduous task given there are only four promotion spots between 80 teams in four groups of 20, but defying such odds might be the challenge some desire.

German second-tier side St Pauli have released Cenk Sahin after the midfielder showed support for Turkey's military operation in Syria on Instagram.

The club launched an investigation after Sahin used the social media platform to support the armed offensive against Kurdish-held regions in Syria via a post that has since been deleted.

Sahin received criticism for the post and St Pauli released a statement on Friday distancing themselves from it as it "is not compatible with the club's values".

A club review has now been completed, with Sahin released.

"The internal review of Cenk Sahin's Instagram post on the deployment of the Turkish army in Syria has been completed. After further talks between club officials and the player, Cenk Sahin has been released from his training and playing duties with immediate effect," a club statement read. 

"The prime factors in reaching the decisions were his repeated disregard for the club's values and the need to protect the player.

"After numerous discussions with fans, members and friends whose roots lie in Turkey, it has become clear to us that we cannot and should not attempt to gauge nuances in perceptions and attitudes from other cultural backgrounds in detail. That we reject acts of war is not open to doubt or discussion, however. These acts, and the expression of solidarity with them, run counter to the values of the club.

"The existing contract will remain valid in the first instance. For the protection of all the parties involved, FC St. Pauli is granting Cenk Sahin permission to train with and play matches for other clubs."

Xavier Amaechi has left Arsenal and signed for Hamburg to continue the trend of young English footballers moving to Germany.

Amaechi, 18, has signed a four-year contract with the 2.Bundesliga side after entering the final 12 months of his deal at Emirates Stadium.

The winger reportedly turned down approaches from several European heavyweights, including Bayern Munich, and Arsenal's offer of an extension.

He joins Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho and RB Leipzig forward Ademola Lookman in completing a permanent switch to Germany, where Arsenal pair Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe have recently spent time on loan.

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