Jadon Sancho is booked for taking his shirt off to display a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message


England star Jadon Sancho displays a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message after scoring for Borussia Dortmund – and is BOOKED as he joins the growing protests over police brutality against black men in US

  • Jadon Sancho was booked for showing a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message 
  • The England player scored for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn on Sunday
  • Gladbach striker Marcus Thuram knelt down on one knee earlier in the day 
  • Protestors have been marching against police brutality on African-Americans 

Jadon Sancho was given a yellow card after revealing a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ shirt while celebrating his goal for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn on Sunday.

The England international scored a hat-trick in Dortmund’s Bundesliga clash and took his shirt off after his first goal to reveal a message supporting the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

Referee Daniel Siebert then presented Sancho with a yellow card for taking his shirt off. 

Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho was booked for revealing a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ shirt

The England winger scored Dortmund’s second goal during their match against Paderborn 

The 20-year-old scored two more in the game to complete his hat-trick but chose not to reveal his message again as it could have risked a sending off. 

Team-mate Achraf Hakimi also scored in the 6-1 win before revealing the same message regarding Mr Floyd’s death. 

Former England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker appeared to endorse Sancho’s celebration, saying in an Instagram post: ‘The wonderfully talented @sanchooo10 scores for @bvb09 and has a message to share’.  

Sancho’s celebration comes just hours after Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram knelt down on one knee in support of the movement after scoring against Union Berlin. 

The 22-year-old striker is the son of former France international and World Cup winner Lillian Thuram, who has been an anti-racist activist and campaigner since his playing days at Monaco, Parma, Juventus and Barcelona. 

Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi also scored in the game and revealed the same message

Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi also scored in the game and revealed the same message

Gary Lineker appeared to endorse Sancho's celebration with an Instagram post

Gary Lineker appeared to endorse Sancho’s celebration with an Instagram post

Sancho netted two more goals later on in the game to earn a hat-trick during the 6-1 win

Sancho netted two more goals later on in the game to earn a hat-trick during the 6-1 win

Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach earlier in the day

Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach earlier in the day

Under law 4 of FIFA’s Laws of the Game, footballers should ‘not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturer’s logo.’

‘The team of a player whose basic compulsory equipment has political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images will be sanctioned by the competition organiser or by FIFA.’

The two celebrations come as activists across the world have been calling for ‘justice’ over the death of Floyd, who had a knee pressed into his neck for more than eight minutes while being detained by a white police officer, and eventually died on the scene in Minneapolis on Monday. 

Derek Chauvin (pictured) has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after My Floyd died after he held his knee on his neck for over eight minutes

Derek Chauvin (pictured) has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after My Floyd died after he held his knee on his neck for over eight minutes

Mr Floyd's murder in Minneapolis on Monday has sparked protests throughout the week

Mr Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis on Monday has sparked protests throughout the week

Protestors marched in the UK calling for justice against police brutality on African-Americans

Protestors marched in the UK calling for justice against police brutality on African-Americans

Over the weekend, protestors have marched in the streets of major cities across the world, including London, Manchester and Cardiff, calling for justice over Floyd’s death at the hands of police brutality.

Police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after the death of Mr Floyd who begged for air while being arrested. 

Chants of ‘I can’t breathe’ – the words Mr Floyd spoke whilst being restrained by Chauvin – were heard across London this weekend while protesters in Cardiff were holding placards which said, ‘The UK is not innocent.’ 

Hundreds of demonstrators shouting 'I can't breathe' packed into Trafalgar Square on Sunday

 Hundreds of demonstrators shouting ‘I can’t breathe’ packed into Trafalgar Square on Sunday

Protesters congregated outside Cardiff Castle in Wales on Sunday to show solidarity

Protesters congregated outside Cardiff Castle in Wales on Sunday to show solidarity

Meanwhile, dozens of American cities have been set ablaze over the last week amid deadly clashes with police officers over Floyd’s death, which is seen as a symbol of systemic police brutality against African-Americans.

Also in the world of football this weekend, Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie wore an armband showing his support for the ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message.



Jadon Sancho is booked for taking his shirt off to display a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message


England star Jadon Sancho displays a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message after scoring for Borussia Dortmund – and is BOOKED as he joins the growing protests over police brutality against black men in US

  • Jadon Sancho was booked for showing a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message 
  • The England player scored for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn on Sunday
  • Gladbach striker Marcus Thuram knelt down on one knee earlier in the day 
  • Protestors have been marching against police brutality on African-Americans 

Jadon Sancho was given a yellow card after revealing a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ shirt while celebrating his goal for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn on Sunday.

The England international scored a hat-trick in Dortmund’s Bundesliga clash and took his shirt off after his first goal to reveal a message supporting the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

Referee Daniel Siebert then presented Sancho with a yellow card for taking his shirt off. 

Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho was booked for revealing a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ shirt

The England winger scored Dortmund’s second goal during their match against Paderborn 

The 20-year-old scored two more in the game to complete his hat-trick but chose not to reveal his message again as it could have risked a sending off. 

Team-mate Achraf Hakimi also scored in the 6-1 win before revealing the same message regarding Mr Floyd’s death. 

Former England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker appeared to endorse Sancho’s celebration, saying in an Instagram post: ‘The wonderfully talented @sanchooo10 scores for @bvb09 and has a message to share’.  

Sancho’s celebration comes just hours after Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram knelt down on one knee in support of the movement after scoring against Union Berlin. 

The 22-year-old striker is the son of former France international and World Cup winner Lillian Thuram, who has been an anti-racist activist and campaigner since his playing days at Monaco, Parma, Juventus and Barcelona. 

Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi also scored in the game and revealed the same message

Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi also scored in the game and revealed the same message

Gary Lineker appeared to endorse Sancho's celebration with an Instagram post

Gary Lineker appeared to endorse Sancho’s celebration with an Instagram post

Sancho netted two more goals later on in the game to earn a hat-trick during the 6-1 win

Sancho netted two more goals later on in the game to earn a hat-trick during the 6-1 win

Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach earlier in the day

Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach earlier in the day

Under law 4 of FIFA’s Laws of the Game, footballers should ‘not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturer’s logo.’

‘The team of a player whose basic compulsory equipment has political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images will be sanctioned by the competition organiser or by FIFA.’

The two celebrations come as activists across the world have been calling for ‘justice’ over the death of Floyd, who had a knee pressed into his neck for more than eight minutes while being detained by a white police officer, and eventually died on the scene in Minneapolis on Monday. 

Derek Chauvin (pictured) has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after My Floyd died after he held his knee on his neck for over eight minutes

Derek Chauvin (pictured) has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after My Floyd died after he held his knee on his neck for over eight minutes

Mr Floyd's murder in Minneapolis on Monday has sparked protests throughout the week

Mr Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis on Monday has sparked protests throughout the week

Protestors marched in the UK calling for justice against police brutality on African-Americans

Protestors marched in the UK calling for justice against police brutality on African-Americans

Over the weekend, protestors have marched in the streets of major cities across the world, including London, Manchester and Cardiff, calling for justice over Floyd’s death at the hands of police brutality.

Police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after the death of Mr Floyd who begged for air while being arrested. 

Chants of ‘I can’t breathe’ – the words Mr Floyd spoke whilst being restrained by Chauvin – were heard across London this weekend while protesters in Cardiff were holding placards which said, ‘The UK is not innocent.’ 

Hundreds of demonstrators shouting 'I can't breathe' packed into Trafalgar Square on Sunday

 Hundreds of demonstrators shouting ‘I can’t breathe’ packed into Trafalgar Square on Sunday

Protesters congregated outside Cardiff Castle in Wales on Sunday to show solidarity

Protesters congregated outside Cardiff Castle in Wales on Sunday to show solidarity

Meanwhile, dozens of American cities have been set ablaze over the last week amid deadly clashes with police officers over Floyd’s death, which is seen as a symbol of systemic police brutality against African-Americans.

Also in the world of football this weekend, Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie wore an armband showing his support for the ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message.



BT Sport app BUCKLES under the demand of sport-deprived armchair supporters tuning into Bundesliga


Football fans desperate for their first fix of live games in more than two months have been left frustrated after the app showing the matches buckled under soaring demand.

The return of the German Bundesliga today has seen many supporters take out subscriptions with BT Sport, which owns the rights to broadcast the fixtures in the UK. 

Top-flight football has been on hold since March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Bundesliga the first of Europe’s major divisions to restart competitive games.

Borussia Dormund take on Schalke in an empty stadium today as the German Bundesliga returns

Dortmund coaches Lucien Favre, left and Manfred Stefes, right, wear masks during their game this afternoon

Dortmund coaches Lucien Favre, left and Manfred Stefes, right, wear masks during their game this afternoon

A young Borussia Dortmund fan in the UK watches his team on television, as the league games are played for the first time in more than two months

A young Borussia Dortmund fan in the UK watches his team on television, as the league games are played for the first time in more than two months

Leipzig's Tyler Adams, left, heads the ball over Freiburg's Christian Guenter in a Bundesliga match in front of an empty stadium today

Leipzig’s Tyler Adams, left, heads the ball over Freiburg’s Christian Guenter in a Bundesliga match in front of an empty stadium today

Fortuna Duesseldorf's head coach Uwe Roesler wears a mask before his team's match with SC Paderborn this afternoon

Fortuna Duesseldorf’s head coach Uwe Roesler wears a mask before his team’s match with SC Paderborn this afternoon

Borussia Dormund fans watch their game with FC Schalke 04 on a mobile device, with supporters not allowed to enter stadiums

Borussia Dormund fans watch their game with FC Schalke 04 on a mobile device, with supporters not allowed to enter stadiums

Fixtures are being played in empty stadiums, with some members of coaching staff pictured wearing face masks. 

However, dozens of exasperated fans took to Twitter this afternoon, complaining that they weren’t able to tune in for their first taste of live action in weeks.

One wrote: ‘Got excited to watch football again. But the BT app keeps crashing so I’ve had to give up. Gutted.’ 

Another said: ’25 quid came out of my account a few mins ago now but the website still says I need to upgrade and the app won’t let me log in. When can I watch some football?’

BT has been approached for comment. 

Dozens of frustrated football fans took to Twitter to complain of trouble accessing live footage of the matches

Dozens of frustrated football fans took to Twitter to complain of trouble accessing live footage of the matches

The setting may be unfamiliar, but the identity of the day’s first goal-scorer was entirely familiar as Erling Braut Haaland put Borussia Dortmund ahead against Schalke.

Haaland diverted a low Thorgan Hazard cross into the far corner of the net in the 29th minute for the first goal of the five matches kicking off on Saturday afternoon on the long-awaited comeback of top-flight football in Europe.

It was a 10th goal in nine Bundesliga appearances for the prolific 19-year-old Norwegian striker, who moved to Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg in the winter.

Usually the scorer of the first goal in the Ruhr derby between Dortmund and Schalke could expect to be mobbed by his teammates, but colleagues of Erling Haaland, pictured, respected social distancing recommendations and avoided getting too close

Usually the scorer of the first goal in the Ruhr derby between Dortmund and Schalke could expect to be mobbed by his teammates, but colleagues of Erling Haaland, pictured, respected social distancing recommendations and avoided getting too close

Renato Steffen and Paulo Otavio of VfL Wolfsburg celebrate a goal against FC Augsburg this afternoon with an 'elbow bump'

Renato Steffen and Paulo Otavio of VfL Wolfsburg celebrate a goal against FC Augsburg this afternoon with an ‘elbow bump’

Usually the scorer of the first goal in the Ruhr derby – one of the biggest fixtures in German football – could expect to be mobbed by his teammates.

On this occasion, though, Haaland’s colleagues respected social distancing recommendations and avoided getting too close as they applauded the smiling and dancing goal-scorer.

Earlier today, four matches kicked off at midday in Germany’s second tier, and another four started 30 minutes later, with players carrying out as much of their pre-match ritual as is possible in the coronavirus pandemic before resuming the 2019-20 season.

Players took to the pitch before kick-off wearing masks to look out upon stadiums that will remain empty for the duration of their game, aside from cameramen wearing masks.

Football returned in Germany on Saturday, firstly through their second tier - Bundesliga 2

Football returned in Germany on Saturday, firstly through their second tier – Bundesliga 2

Darmstadt players head onto the pitch before their Bundesliga 2 match against Karlsruher

Darmstadt players head onto the pitch before their Bundesliga 2 match against Karlsruher

Masked cameramen were the only people watching on from the stands on Saturday

Masked cameramen were the only people watching on from the stands on Saturday 

Frank Schmidt, Heidenheim head coach, is interviewed from a distance prior to kick-off

Frank Schmidt, Heidenheim head coach, is interviewed from a distance prior to kick-off

Microphones are wrapped in a plastic cover in order to halt the potential spread of Covid-19

Microphones are wrapped in a plastic cover in order to halt the potential spread of Covid-19

Ball boys wore gloves while microphones used to interview players and managers had a protective film wrapped over the top of them before being connected to a two-metre pole.

Match balls were also sprayed with disinfectant, as well as the seats in the dugouts where coaches and substitutes will sit. And when those players took their place on the bench, they sat apart from each other to maintain social distancing.

Media were allowed in to cover matches but their temperatures were taken upon arrival for any signs of a fever – one of the symptoms of coronavirus.

Stewards stood outside of the stadiums wearing masks, some of which were branded with club colours.  

TV crews in the stands were the extent of the crowd across German fixtures this weekend

TV crews in the stands were the extent of the crowd across German fixtures this weekend

Ball boys will wear gloves when football finally resumes across Germany on Saturday

Ball boys will wear gloves when football finally resumes across Germany on Saturday

Match balls were sprayed with disinfectant prior to games restarting in Bundesliga 2

Match balls were sprayed with disinfectant prior to games restarting in Bundesliga 2

Seats in the dugout were also sprayed and cleaned before coaches and substitutes sat there

Seats in the dugout were also sprayed and cleaned before coaches and substitutes sat there

One Bundesliga 2 match was postponed this weekend. Dynamo Dresden’s clash with Hannover was called off after two Dresden players tested positive for the virus and the whole team was ordered into a two-week lockdown by regional authorities. 

‘When the decision from the top came that we could train and the games were about to start, we gathered the whole team and started normal sessions,’ Dresden’s striker Alexander Jeremejeff told the BBC. 

‘We only did this for two days and then we had to go to this quarantine for two weeks. ‘ 

Media were allowed in to cover the Bundesliga 2 matches but had their temperatures checked

Media were allowed in to cover the Bundesliga 2 matches but had their temperatures checked

Stewards partolled the perimeter of stadiums with club-branded face masks on

Stewards partolled the perimeter of stadiums with club-branded face masks on 

BT Sport app BUCKLES under the demand of sport-deprived armchair supporters tuning into Bundesliga


Football fans desperate for their first fix of live games in more than two months have been left frustrated after the app showing the matches buckled under soaring demand.

The return of the German Bundesliga today has seen many supporters take out subscriptions with BT Sport, which owns the rights to broadcast the fixtures in the UK. 

Top-flight football has been on hold since March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Bundesliga the first of Europe’s major divisions to restart competitive games.

Borussia Dormund take on Schalke in an empty stadium today as the German Bundesliga returns

Dortmund coaches Lucien Favre, left and Manfred Stefes, right, wear masks during their game this afternoon

Dortmund coaches Lucien Favre, left and Manfred Stefes, right, wear masks during their game this afternoon

A young Borussia Dortmund fan in the UK watches his team on television, as the league games are played for the first time in more than two months

A young Borussia Dortmund fan in the UK watches his team on television, as the league games are played for the first time in more than two months

Leipzig's Tyler Adams, left, heads the ball over Freiburg's Christian Guenter in a Bundesliga match in front of an empty stadium today

Leipzig’s Tyler Adams, left, heads the ball over Freiburg’s Christian Guenter in a Bundesliga match in front of an empty stadium today

Fortuna Duesseldorf's head coach Uwe Roesler wears a mask before his team's match with SC Paderborn this afternoon

Fortuna Duesseldorf’s head coach Uwe Roesler wears a mask before his team’s match with SC Paderborn this afternoon

Borussia Dormund fans watch their game with FC Schalke 04 on a mobile device, with supporters not allowed to enter stadiums

Borussia Dormund fans watch their game with FC Schalke 04 on a mobile device, with supporters not allowed to enter stadiums

Fixtures are being played in empty stadiums, with some members of coaching staff pictured wearing face masks. 

However, dozens of exasperated fans took to Twitter this afternoon, complaining that they weren’t able to tune in for their first taste of live action in weeks.

One wrote: ‘Got excited to watch football again. But the BT app keeps crashing so I’ve had to give up. Gutted.’ 

Another said: ’25 quid came out of my account a few mins ago now but the website still says I need to upgrade and the app won’t let me log in. When can I watch some football?’

BT has been approached for comment. 

Dozens of frustrated football fans took to Twitter to complain of trouble accessing live footage of the matches

Dozens of frustrated football fans took to Twitter to complain of trouble accessing live footage of the matches

The setting may be unfamiliar, but the identity of the day’s first goal-scorer was entirely familiar as Erling Braut Haaland put Borussia Dortmund ahead against Schalke.

Haaland diverted a low Thorgan Hazard cross into the far corner of the net in the 29th minute for the first goal of the five matches kicking off on Saturday afternoon on the long-awaited comeback of top-flight football in Europe.

It was a 10th goal in nine Bundesliga appearances for the prolific 19-year-old Norwegian striker, who moved to Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg in the winter.

Usually the scorer of the first goal in the Ruhr derby between Dortmund and Schalke could expect to be mobbed by his teammates, but colleagues of Erling Haaland, pictured, respected social distancing recommendations and avoided getting too close

Usually the scorer of the first goal in the Ruhr derby between Dortmund and Schalke could expect to be mobbed by his teammates, but colleagues of Erling Haaland, pictured, respected social distancing recommendations and avoided getting too close

Renato Steffen and Paulo Otavio of VfL Wolfsburg celebrate a goal against FC Augsburg this afternoon with an 'elbow bump'

Renato Steffen and Paulo Otavio of VfL Wolfsburg celebrate a goal against FC Augsburg this afternoon with an ‘elbow bump’

Usually the scorer of the first goal in the Ruhr derby – one of the biggest fixtures in German football – could expect to be mobbed by his teammates.

On this occasion, though, Haaland’s colleagues respected social distancing recommendations and avoided getting too close as they applauded the smiling and dancing goal-scorer.

Earlier today, four matches kicked off at midday in Germany’s second tier, and another four started 30 minutes later, with players carrying out as much of their pre-match ritual as is possible in the coronavirus pandemic before resuming the 2019-20 season.

Players took to the pitch before kick-off wearing masks to look out upon stadiums that will remain empty for the duration of their game, aside from cameramen wearing masks.

Football returned in Germany on Saturday, firstly through their second tier - Bundesliga 2

Football returned in Germany on Saturday, firstly through their second tier – Bundesliga 2

Darmstadt players head onto the pitch before their Bundesliga 2 match against Karlsruher

Darmstadt players head onto the pitch before their Bundesliga 2 match against Karlsruher

Masked cameramen were the only people watching on from the stands on Saturday

Masked cameramen were the only people watching on from the stands on Saturday 

Frank Schmidt, Heidenheim head coach, is interviewed from a distance prior to kick-off

Frank Schmidt, Heidenheim head coach, is interviewed from a distance prior to kick-off

Microphones are wrapped in a plastic cover in order to halt the potential spread of Covid-19

Microphones are wrapped in a plastic cover in order to halt the potential spread of Covid-19

Ball boys wore gloves while microphones used to interview players and managers had a protective film wrapped over the top of them before being connected to a two-metre pole.

Match balls were also sprayed with disinfectant, as well as the seats in the dugouts where coaches and substitutes will sit. And when those players took their place on the bench, they sat apart from each other to maintain social distancing.

Media were allowed in to cover matches but their temperatures were taken upon arrival for any signs of a fever – one of the symptoms of coronavirus.

Stewards stood outside of the stadiums wearing masks, some of which were branded with club colours.  

TV crews in the stands were the extent of the crowd across German fixtures this weekend

TV crews in the stands were the extent of the crowd across German fixtures this weekend

Ball boys will wear gloves when football finally resumes across Germany on Saturday

Ball boys will wear gloves when football finally resumes across Germany on Saturday

Match balls were sprayed with disinfectant prior to games restarting in Bundesliga 2

Match balls were sprayed with disinfectant prior to games restarting in Bundesliga 2

Seats in the dugout were also sprayed and cleaned before coaches and substitutes sat there

Seats in the dugout were also sprayed and cleaned before coaches and substitutes sat there

One Bundesliga 2 match was postponed this weekend. Dynamo Dresden’s clash with Hannover was called off after two Dresden players tested positive for the virus and the whole team was ordered into a two-week lockdown by regional authorities. 

‘When the decision from the top came that we could train and the games were about to start, we gathered the whole team and started normal sessions,’ Dresden’s striker Alexander Jeremejeff told the BBC. 

‘We only did this for two days and then we had to go to this quarantine for two weeks. ‘ 

Media were allowed in to cover the Bundesliga 2 matches but had their temperatures checked

Media were allowed in to cover the Bundesliga 2 matches but had their temperatures checked

Stewards partolled the perimeter of stadiums with club-branded face masks on

Stewards partolled the perimeter of stadiums with club-branded face masks on 

Billions will be watching as the Bundesliga returns… the beautiful game is BACK


Let the experiment begin. Football returns on Saturday and the eyes of Europe and the world will be on Germany. As well as a thrilling title race, a gruelling relegation battle and an iconic local derby, the real attraction this weekend will be the answer to that billion-dollar question: can it work?

‘There will be billions watching us,’ Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Bild on Wednesday. Many of those will be watching simply for the joy of live football, but perhaps more will be looking for answers. What does league football look like without fans? Can you really play in a pandemic? How will they celebrate? Can it work?

Yet before we launch into all that, perhaps it is worth dwelling – for one, blissful moment – on the football itself. For even in the quiet of empty stadiums, the Bundesliga is set to be back with a bang.

Football will make its long-awaited comeback this weekend as the Bundesliga returns to action

Games will be played in front of empty stadiums in line with Germany's coronavirus protocols

Games will be played in front of empty stadiums in line with Germany’s coronavirus protocols 

That is partly down to clever scheduling. The weekend was originally scheduled to begin with a relegation dogfight between Paderborn and Uwe Rosler’s Fortuna Dusseldorf, but the league wisely invented a reason to shift it from Friday to Saturday. If the world is watching you, you may as well dress to impress.

Instead, the curtain will rise on the weekend’s showstopper: Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke. As sad as it will be to see one of Europe’s great derbies take place without fans, it remains a mouth-watering clash of old rivals and contrasting styles on the pitch.

Schalke, with Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny and former Huddersfield boss David Wagner, have discovered a new grit this season. 

Schalke have discovered a new grit this season under ex-Huddersfield manager David Wagner

Schalke have discovered a new grit this season under ex-Huddersfield manager David Wagner

They have scored less than half the number of goals Dortmund have, yet they sit just four places behind them in sixth, on course for European qualification.

Dortmund, meanwhile, will hope to obliterate their arch-rivals with the double-barrelled shotgun of Erling Haaland and England’s Jadon Sancho. Both have been in record-breaking form, and against Schalke, Sancho could plausibly become the first player since records began to notch up more than 15 goals and 15 assists in a single Bundesliga season.

Back in the new year, he and Haaland transformed Dortmund’s campaign. With four wins in four, Lucien Favre’s side were just hitting their stride when the coronavirus hit in mid-March, and are now very much back in the title race.

Fellow former Premier League man Jonjoe Kenny has been a consistent performer for Schalke

Fellow former Premier League man Jonjoe Kenny has been a consistent performer for Schalke

And what a title race it is. Bayern, after a disastrous start to the season under Niko Kovac have returned to their dominant best under Hansi Flick, and will be buoyed by recent contract extensions for Thomas Muller and Alphonso Davies. In Dortmund and Leipzig, however, they have two challengers who can be as powerful as any team in Europe when the mood takes them.

Yet as Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc warned on Thursday: ‘this is not the moment to talk about the title race. For now it is just about Schalke and re-starting the Bundesliga in a positive way’.

This campaign, after all, is no longer a normal football season. If nothing else, the conditions have changed so drastically that all previous form and quality could in the end prove meaningless.

Bayern Munich return to action with their eyes firmly on retaining the Bundesliga title

Bayern Munich return to action with their eyes firmly on retaining the Bundesliga title

Union Berlin have been impressive this season but will be without their ferocious support

Union Berlin have been impressive this season but will be without their ferocious support

Bayern themselves resume their title charge on Sunday at Union Berlin, in a game which could tell us a lot about how the whole situation will affect what happens on the pitch.

Underdogs Union would normally fancy their chances of a smash-and-grab win, but they are now without two of their biggest trump cards. Their ferocious support will not be there to cheer them on, and for almost two months, they have been unable to practise tackling.

Club president Dirk Zingler nonetheless believes an upset is possible: ‘We are all starting something completely new. It’s going to be exciting, and I think we might see one or two curious results,’ he said last week.

This, in other words, will not be football as we know it. Aside from the empty stadiums, there will also be muted celebrations, no spitting, and compulsory protective masks for the coaches.

Union boss Urs Fischer may not even be allowed in the dugout after leaving quarantine early

Union boss Urs Fischer may not even be allowed in the dugout after leaving quarantine early

Some coaches may not even be there at all. Union Berlin boss Urs Fischer may not be allowed in the dugout against Bayern, having left the compulsory pre-match quarantine for family reasons earlier this week.

Augsburg coach Heiko Herrlich will definitely be absent. At a press conference on Thursday, he let slip that he had left his team’s quarantine hotel to buy toothpaste, prompting a grovelling apology later in the day.

Such have been the little reminders that all of this is fragile to say the least. The Bundesliga may be restarting, but it is by no means a foregone conclusion that this season will be finished.

Dynamo Dresden squad were forced into quarantine after two players tested positive

Dynamo Dresden squad were forced into quarantine after two players tested positive

Dynamo Dresden have already been ordered into a two-week quarantine by local health authorities, playing havoc with scheduling in the second division. If more such situations arise, the Bundesliga may have to revert to a plan B, with games held in neutral stadiums and the season potentially spilling into July. The debate over what to do if the season is cancelled entirely has also not gone away.

Until the last ball is kicked, cancellation cannot be ruled out. According to a recent poll, around 56 percent of Germans are against the restart, and internationally, there are bound to be some who are hoping the project will fail.

One way or another, this weekend may set the tone for the next year in global sport. The world is watching, and waiting for an answer. Can it work?

Germany could open ALL shops and schools and restart the Bundesliga THIS MONTH


Germany will re-open all shops and schools before the end of May, according to a draft agreement between Angela Merkel and state leaders – but border checks have been extended. 

Berlin is preparing a further easing of the lockdown after officials said an initial lifting of restrictions on April 30 had not caused a surge in cases. 

Shops could re-open across Germany while the regions would decide on a timetable to re-open bars, restaurants, hotels, cinemas and universities. 

Schools would also re-open fully before the end of this month, while the Bundesliga football season could resume as soon as May 21.    

However, the border controls introduced on March 16 have been renewed, and people who cannot provide ‘urgent reasons’ to enter Germany are being turned away.  

Merkel will discuss the plans with the 16 state premiers today after Germany’s daily infection count stayed below 1,000 for the fifth day running. 

The chancellor has urged caution about re-opening Germany, but has come under pressure after some states took unilateral action to restart their economies. 

Police officers patrol an empty Frankfurt Airport – usually the busiest in Germany – as the country extends the border controls which were introduced in mid-March

A group of secondary school children sit at their desks at a school in Ettlingen in southern Germany on Monday. All schools could be set to re-open by the end of May

A group of secondary school children sit at their desks at a school in Ettlingen in southern Germany on Monday. All schools could be set to re-open by the end of May 

Germany today recorded 947 new cases, up from 685 yesterday, taking the total from 163,860 to 164,807. 

There were 165 more deaths, up from 139 on Tuesday, bringing the overall death toll from 6,831 to 6,996. 

Germany began tentatively lifting its lockdown two weeks ago, opening some shops and schools, after infection rates came down.

Merkel and the state leaders agreed last week to loosen the rules further, giving religious institutions, playgrounds, museums and zoos the green light to open.

‘Even after initial steps to open up were introduced from April 20, the number of new infections remained low,’ the draft document reads, with ‘no new wave of infection’ so far detected – justifying bolder steps. 

The latest proposals say that restrictions should be re-imposed at a local level if there is a surge in new infections after the lockdown is eased.   

The plan is for this threshold to be set at ‘more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within the last seven days’ in a particular district. 

If there is a limited outbreak, such as in a nursing home, restrictions might only be applied there, the paper suggested.

‘If there is a dispersed regional outbreak and infection chains are unclear, general restrictions, such as those in force in Germany before 20 April, must be consistently reintroduced regionally,’ the paper says.

It added that this would include restricting travel to and from these regions. 

Based on infection levels, states will decide on how to re-open universities, restaurants, bars, hotels, trade fairs, cosmetic studios, brothels, theatres, fitness studios, cinemas and discos with appropriate social distancing measures.  

Germany's daily infection count has now been below 1,000 for four days running, although it rose from 685 yesterday to 947 today

Germany’s daily infection count has now been below 1,000 for four days running, although it rose from 685 yesterday to 947 today 

Germany's death toll in the last 24 hours was 165, up from 139 the previous day, bringing the total to 6,996

Germany’s death toll in the last 24 hours was 165, up from 139 the previous day, bringing the total to 6,996 

Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara passes the ball to a coach at the club's training ground yesterday, with the Bundesliga gearing up to resume as soon as May 21

Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara passes the ball to a coach at the club’s training ground yesterday, with the Bundesliga gearing up to resume as soon as May 21 

A man gets a haircut at a salon in Berlin on Monday, after Germany allowed some shops and schools to re-open at the end of April and start of May

A man gets a haircut at a salon in Berlin on Monday, after Germany allowed some shops and schools to re-open at the end of April and start of May 

According to the draft document, Merkel and state leaders believe that resuming the Bundesliga and second division is an ‘acceptable’ move to ‘limit the economic damage’ for the 36 clubs involved.

German media has identified May 21 as a possible date for the restart, with matches played in front of empty stadiums. 

Each squad would quarantine itself for two weeks before resuming the season, possibly by taking a training camp, the proposals say. 

Health officials have previously cast doubt on whether Germany’s large testing capacity should be used for the sake of football. 

But football bosses hope that restarting the Bundesliga will ‘give millions of fans a little more zest for life again’.  

Merkel has also asked regional leaders to draw up plans for how the food and drink industry could restart.

But Bavaria has already pre-empted today’s meeting by announcing that restaurants and beer gardens would re-open from May 18 and hotels from May 30.   

State premier Markus Soeder said Bavaria will move from a policy of limiting people’s movements to limiting personal contact. 

He said ‘the time has come for a cautious reopening’, pointing to the ‘success’ in containing the spread of the virus. 

‘We will allow hotels and tourism from the Pentecost weekend, the 30th, but without saunas, wellness facilities or swimming pools,’ he told reporters.

It will also be possible for families to visit elderly relatives, a group particularly at risk, in care homes. 

German chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured in Berlin last week, has urged caution about re-opening Germany - but some states have already pre-empted her talks with regional leaders

German chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured in Berlin last week, has urged caution about re-opening Germany – but some states have already pre-empted her talks with regional leaders

Shoppers line up outside Berlin's KaDeWe department store earlier this week after some shops were allowed to re-open following the lockdown

Shoppers line up outside Berlin’s KaDeWe department store earlier this week after some shops were allowed to re-open following the lockdown 

Bavaria is the worst-hit state in Germany with 43,371 cases and 2,001 deaths, but the state has put its rate of transmission (R) as lower than the national figure. 

The national Robert Koch disease institute estimates Germany’s figure at 0.71, meaning that each virus patient infects another 0.71 people on average. 

Merkel – who is planning to step down in 2021 – saw a surge in popularity in the early weeks of the crisis but has faced growing calls to restart the economy. 

At local government level, dozen of mayors in southern Germany have urged the state and federal governments to open the borders to France and Switzerland.

The federal government has extended controls along the frontier with France, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Denmark until May 15 to limit transmissions. 

The umbrella group representing German industry, the BDI, has warned that Germany’s future as a major manufacturer could be endangered if lockdown measures continued.    

North Rhine-Westphalia premier Armin Laschet, who has criticised Merkel’s firmer stance on restrictions, says the negative effects of lockdown must be ‘weighed up’.

He attacked what he said were the pessimistic predictions of some medical experts, pointing out that ’40 per cent of intensive care beds are empty’ in his state.

Demonstrations against the lockdown were held in several German cities last weekend.

The far-right AfD, Germany’s largest opposition party by number of MPs, has also attacked the lockdown measures.

But experts continue to call for restraint. The Robert Koch institute has repeatedly warned of possible second or even third waves of the virus hitting the country.

At a briefing on Tuesday, RKI head Lothar Wieler urged vigilance.

‘Social distancing is certainly the new normal and will help to ensure that the infection rate remains low,’ he said.

‘If we ease restrictions, this will of course increase the risk of new infections.’

Former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou is seen making a mockery of coronavirus hygiene rules


It is the video which some say might spell the end of the Bundesliga season.

The German league had hoped to restart later this month. After proposing a detailed plan involving stringent hygiene regulations, clubs were waiting for the green light from Angela Merkel and fellow politicians later this week.

Yet an ill-fated Facebook live from former Chelsea star Salomon Kalou might yet see the Bundesliga’s plan crash and burn before it even gets off the ground.

Hertha Berlin’s Salomon Kalou could be in hot water after appearing to defy hygiene rules

The former Chelsea striker went live on Facebook in a video that shocked the Bundesliga

The former Chelsea striker went live on Facebook in a video that shocked the Bundesliga

Kalou, now at Hertha Berlin, broadcast the clip on Monday afternoon, to widespread shock in Germany.

In the video, the veteran Ivorian striker is seen flouting some of the Bundesliga’s hygiene measures, fist-bumping and clapping hands with team mates, as well as barging in on another player’s coronavirus test.

He and fellow Hertha players also appear to be openly complaining about pay cuts brought on by the virus crisis, with Kalou waving what he says is his pay cheque at the camera and saying: ‘They took 11 per cent… Why are they f***ing with us?’

In another section of the since-deleted video, Kalou walks into the office of Hertha’s athletics coach Henrik Kuchno, shaking his hand and talking to him for a matter of seconds.

Salomon Kalou was seen fist-bumping team-mates

He was also clapping hands with his fellow Hertha players

In the Facebook live video, Kalou fist-bumping and clapping hands with his Hertha team mates

He also barges in on defender Jordan Torunarigha while the latter is undergoing what appears to be a coronavirus test, with a team doctor swabbing the inside of his mouth.

‘Sala, please. Sala, delete that, please,’ the doctor says when he realises Kalou is filming. The former Chelsea man leaves the room, saying he is ‘only joking’.

In a statement on their website, Hertha condemned the video and said that it showed that the ‘regular notices about hygiene and social distancing rules need to be more intensive’.

They added that the discussion about wage reduction was due to a ‘mistake’, and that the players had not objected to the pay cut in principle.

‘Salomon Kalou has not only done significant damage to Hertha Berlin, he has also given the impression that individual players are not taking the coronavirus seriously in the middle of a societal discussion about restarting the season,’ said sporting director Michael Preetz.

The video came after the German Football League (DFL) announced that there were 10 positive tests for the coronavirus among 36 clubs in the Bundesliga and second division.

The DFL says that 1,724 tests for COVID-19 were carried out over two rounds among players and staff.

Kalou then barged in on a team-mate's supposed coronavirus test

He also appears to barge in on Jordan Torunarigha while having a reported coronavirus test

Cologne reported three positive cases last week, while second-division Stuttgart had reported one ‘inconclusive result’ from an unidentified person.

Kalou’s explosive video also comes as the DFL awaits official approval for its plan to restart games behind closed doors later this month.

With official approval contingent on clubs keeping to a comprehensive set of testing and social distancing measures, the clips could torpedo hopes of a restart.

Since training resumed on April 6, most Bundesliga teams have been working in small groups with players changing individually and under orders to observe strict social distancing rules.

One of the staff asked Kalou to leave when he realised he was filming

Kalou then walks away pretending he is joking

The doctor asks Kalou to leave but the former Chelsea striker walks away saying he was joking

And last weekend, the head of the league’s medical task force Tim Meyer said that players would need to show ‘extreme discipline on and off the field’ if the concept to restart games was to work.

Kalou’s video shows that, at least at one club, numerous players are not showing that discipline and the current regulations are not being kept to entirely.

‘The images of Salomon Kalou in the Hertha Berlin dressing room are absolutely unacceptable,’ tweeted the DFL on Monday. ‘There can be no tolerance of this – especially given the players and clubs who are keeping to the measures because they recognise the seriousness of the situation.’

Captain and senior team member Vedad Ibisevic (right) is heard moaning about wage cuts

Captain and senior team member Vedad Ibisevic (right) is heard moaning about wage cuts

The plan to resume games also relies heavily on regular testing for all players, which has been criticised by medical professionals and others as a waste of resources.

The video will hardly fuel public sympathy for the footballers, especially given the discussion about wage cuts.

Captain and senior team member Vedad Ibisevic is heard moaning about an 11 percent cut to his wages, while another player off camera seems to say he has received a 15 percent reduction.

Clubs had been waiting for Angela Merkel's government to say the Bundesliga could resume

Clubs had been waiting for Angela Merkel’s government to say the Bundesliga could resume

‘If they do every player, they’re gonna earn a lot of money…they’re crazy bro, I don’t understand why they do that…I’m gonna ask him: are they f*****g with us?’ Ibisevic appears to say.

Hertha announced that their players would take a wage cut back in March, without stipulating how much, and the dressing room discussion appears to be based on the fact that the players did not expect such a large reduction in pay.

‘Today’s video will unleash more discussion about how safe the Bundesliga is with respect to the growing virus, because it shows that at least some players are not sensitive to the dangers,’ wrote 11 Freunde magazine.

Kicker weekly described it meanwhile as ‘water to the mill’ of those who are critical of plans to restart the football.

Hertha are yet to comment on the video.

The news comes amid the DFL's announcement of 10 news cases including Cologne's three

The news comes amid the DFL’s announcement of 10 news cases including Cologne’s three

Coronavirus: Bundesliga restart in doubt with Germany gearing up to TIGHTEN lockdown after new cases


Bundesliga’s season restart is plunged into fresh doubt with the German government gearing up to TIGHTEN lockdown after a fresh spike in coronavirus cases… which could push back proposed return date of May 9

  • Bundesliga had been hoping to return on May 9 with many clubs back in training 
  • The top flight is seeking to get the thumbs up from the German government 
  • But now a proposed season restart is in doubt amid reports of a new lockdown
  • Germany is said to have seen a spike in new cases after relaxing restrictions  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Bundesliga’s planned return has been thrown into turmoil after reports that Germany could toughen up its lockdown protocols.

Clubs in the German top flight have returned to training in the hope that the rest of the season can be finished off – providing Chancellor Angela Merkel gives the green light for action to get back underway. 

The league had pencilled in May 9 as a possible date to return to the pitch, but those hopes might have to be shelved amid after reports surfacing that coronavirus cases had spiked in the country, which could force Chancellor Angela Merkel to tighten lockdown after shops, schools and churches began to open again.   

Bundesliga clubs, such as Bayern, are back in training – but a return could be pushed back

The Bundesliga had been planning to resume the season on May 9 with government's approval

The Bundesliga had been planning to resume the season on May 9 with government’s approval

Germany’s virus reproduction rate – which shows how many people on average are effected by coronavirus – has now shot up to 1.0, the ‘dividing line between growth and decline’.  

Germany’s strict procedures during the pandemic have seen them handle the disease better than most countries, but Merkel said hospitals would be overwhelmed if the rate rises any further, meaning a second lockdown would be ‘unavoidable’.

Government officials are set to meet on Thursday to decide the next steps in tackling the virus, with clubs holding their breath in the hope of getting the blessing to resume playing.

Angela Merkel said that a stronger lockdown may be unavoidable if new cases continue to rise

Angela Merkel said that a stronger lockdown may be unavoidable if new cases continue to rise

The Bundesliga had been planning to play out the rest of the campaign behind closed doors

The Bundesliga had been planning to play out the rest of the campaign behind closed doors

The Bundesliga was suspended in early March as the disease began to sweep its way across the country, but clubs have slowly been returning to the training field with stars being put through their paces in small groups.

The improving situation in Germany had given hope that the season might soon get underway again, despite watching leagues being cancelled in Belgium, Holland and now France. Now fears are ramping up that the Bundesliga could follow suit. 

Teams are back on the training pitch in small groups after a relaxing of the social distancing measures two weeks ago, and if the season does resume it will be done so behind closed doors.

Last week Bundesliga chief Christian Seifert said: ‘If we get the signal that we can start on May 9, we will be ready.’

A number of clubs in German football face insolvency if the domestic season can't be finished

A number of clubs in German football face insolvency if the domestic season can’t be finished

A groundsman prepares the pitch at Borussia Dortmund's stadium on Sunday afternoon

A groundsman prepares the pitch at Borussia Dortmund’s stadium on Sunday afternoon

There are financial fears from a number of clubs in German football, with 13 of 26 in the German Football League facing insolvency if they are not able to complete the campaign.

Without the usual income from matchday revenue, teams have been left vulnerable – including top flight side Schalke, who are said to face insolvency as early as May. Concerns have been eased, however, after a third of the season’s remaining TV rights income was paid out.

But a number of outfits ‘may be squeezed further down the line’ if the domestic season cannot be wrapped up, Seifert added. But he admitted that ‘the health of the nation always comes first’. 

Germany has almost 160,000 infections but only 6,000 deaths, which is a much lower total than the likes of the UK, Italy and Spain – all on more than 20,000 fatalities.  

Champions League qualification ‘will be decided on sporting merit’ if season can’t be finished


UEFA have decided that if top European leagues are unable to finish their current campaigns due to the coronavirus crisis, then next season’s European places will be chosen on ‘sporting merit’, it has been reported. 

This would likely mean a decision made on points-per-game tally, according to The Times, which would secure a Champions League spot next season for the Premier League’s current top four of Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Chelsea.

UEFA’s decision would see Manchester United and Sheffield United take the Europa League places, while Arsenal and Tottenham would miss out on European football entirely if the current Premier League season is unable to be completed.

Thursday’s big video conference meeting was led by UEFA’s president Aleksander Ceferin

If season can't be finished, United, Arsenal and Spurs will miss out on the Champions League

 If season can’t be finished, United, Arsenal and Spurs will miss out on the Champions League

Ole Gunnar Solskjar's Manchester United would miss out on next season's Champions League

Ole Gunnar Solskjar’s Manchester United would miss out on next season’s Champions League

As it stands, the two north London sides sit eighth and ninth respectively in the top-flight table, but they would be flipped around on a points-per-game measure, with Arsenal having played one less game.

That means the Gunners, on UEFA’s potential plan, would leapfrog Spurs and finish above them for the first time in four years.

Above them, meanwhile, the decision would be excellent news for Sheffield United amid their stunning first season back in the top flight.

They are below Wolves in the current Premier League standings, but having played a game less their points-per-game tally is slightly better, meaning they would move up to sixth and therefore secure a place in next season’s Europa League.

It remains to be seen who will claim the final Europa League spot in England, which goes to the winner of the FA Cup, will be allocated if the competition cannot be finished. Wolves are the next highest-ranked team who would not qualify for European competitions if points-per-game is used, so they may be the beneficiaries of Europa League qualification if the oldest club cup competition cannot be finished. 

Other than that, the Premier League table would remain the same, with Bournemouth, Norwich and Aston Villa still occupying the relegation places. 

UEFA have decided that next season's European places will be decided on 'sporting merit'

 UEFA have decided that next season’s European places will be decided on ‘sporting merit’

One decision high on the agenda was how to deal with this season's Champions League

One decision high on the agenda was how to deal with this season’s Champions League

It is also important to note that things could yet change further in UEFA’s plan if Manchester City’s European ban is upheld.

That would cause a ripple-down effect that would see Manchester United awarded a place in the Champions League, while Wolves would be bumped up to join Sheffield United in the Europa League. 

UEFA’s plan would not just impact the Premier League, but also the other top European divisions.

In the Bundesliga, where a decision on the outcome of the season is expected today, all of the teams in the top half of the division have played the same amount of games, meaning the standings would remain the same.

Therefore, if the season is unable to be completed in Germany, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach would take the country’s top four spots and a place in next season’s Champions League. 

In Italy’s Serie A, some top teams have played fewer games than others, but the positions would remain the same if a points-per-game tally was applied.

Napoli's Stadio San Paolo is cleaned by workers last month amid the coronavirus crisis

Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo is cleaned by workers last month amid the coronavirus crisis

That means that Lazio would be a surprise qualifier for next season’s Champions League alongside table-toppers Juventus, Inter Milan and Atalanta if UEFA’s plan is put in place and the season doesn’t finish.

Roma and Napoli would be put into the Europa League, a decision that would likely disappoint both given they still had games to turn their season around and secure a place in Europe’s premier competition.

It would be even more disastrous for AC Milan, who would miss out on European football altogether with UEFA’s plan. 

Thursday’s meeting of UEFA’s executive committee was led by president Alexander Ceferin and held via a videoconference from 9am.

Plenty of big decisions had previously been made by the committee, such as the postponement of Euro 2020, so it was always expected that more tough calls would be made this week.  

The first strand of business was already decided during a preliminary meeting on Tuesday, which included the general secretaries of UEFA’s 55 member states.    

Bundesliga clubs already have stars back in training - including Bayern Munich (above)

Bundesliga clubs already have stars back in training – including Bayern Munich (above)



Champions League qualification ‘will be decided on sporting merit’ if season can’t be finished


UEFA have decided that if top European leagues are unable to finish their current campaigns due to the coronavirus crisis, then next season’s European places will be chosen on ‘sporting merit’, it has been reported. 

This could mean a decision made on points-per-game tally, according to The Times, which would secure a Champions League spot next season for the Premier League’s current top four of Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Chelsea.

UEFA’s decision would see Manchester United and Wolves take the Europa League places, while Arsenal and Tottenham would miss out on European football entirely if the current Premier League season is unable to be completed.

Thursday’s big videoconference meeting was led by UEFA’s president Aleksander Ceferin

If season can't be finished, United, Arsenal and Spurs will miss out on the Champions League

 If season can’t be finished, United, Arsenal and Spurs will miss out on the Champions League

Ole Gunnar Solskjar's Manchester United would miss out on next season's Champions League

Ole Gunnar Solskjar’s Manchester United would miss out on next season’s Champions League

As it stands, the two north London sides sit eighth and ninth respectively in the top-flight table, but they would be flipped around on a points-per-game measure, with Arsenal having played one less game.

That means the Gunners, on UEFA’s potential plan, would leapfrog Spurs and finish above them for the first time in four years.

Above them, meanwhile, the decision would be excellent news for Sheffield United amid their stunning first season back in the top flight.

They are below Wolves in the current Premier League standings, but having played a game less their points-per-game tally is slightly better, meaning they would move up to sixth and therefore secure a place in next season’s Europa League.

Other than that, the Premier League table would remain the same, with Bournemouth, Norwich and Aston Villa still occupying the relegation places. 

UEFA have decided that next season's European places will be decided on 'sporting merit'

 UEFA have decided that next season’s European places will be decided on ‘sporting merit’

One decision high on the agenda was how to deal with this season's Champions League

One decision high on the agenda was how to deal with this season’s Champions League

It is also important to note that things could yet change further in UEFA’s plan if Manchester City’s European ban is upheld.

That would cause a ripple-down effect that would see Manchester United awarded a place in the Champions League, while Wolves would be bumped up to join Sheffield United in the Europa League. 

UEFA’s plan would not just impact the Premier League, but also the other top European divisions.

In the Bundesliga, where a decision on the outcome of the season is expected today, all of the teams in the top half of the division have played the same amount of games, meaning the standings would remain the same.

Therefore, if the season is unable to be completed in Germany, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach would take the country’s top four spots and a place in next season’s Champions League. 

In Italy’s Serie A, some top teams have played fewer games than others, but the positions would remain the same if a points-per-game tally was applied.

Napoli's Stadio San Paolo is cleaned by workers last month amid the coronavirus crisis

Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo is cleaned by workers last month amid the coronavirus crisis

That means that Lazio would be a surprise qualifier for next season’s Champions League alongside table-toppers Juventus, Inter Milan and Atalanta if UEFA’s plan is put in place and the season doesn’t finish.

Roma and Napoli would be put into the Europa League, a decision that would likely disappoint both given they still had games to turn their season around and secure a place in Europe’s premier competition.

It would be even more disastrous for AC Milan, who would miss out on European football altogether with UEFA’s plan. 

Thursday’s meeting of UEFA’s executive committee was led by president Alexander Ceferin and held via a videoconference from 9am.

Plenty of big decisions had previously been made by the committee, such as the postponement of Euro 2020, so it was always expected that more tough calls would be made this week.  

The first strand of business was already decided during a preliminary meeting on Tuesday, which included the general secretaries of UEFA’s 55 member states.    

Bundesliga clubs already have stars back in training - including Bayern Munich (above)

Bundesliga clubs already have stars back in training – including Bayern Munich (above)