Stuttgart – The Handball Bundesliga (HBL) is preparing for the scenario of abandonment despite the hope that the season will continue soon.
Should there actually be an early end to the season due to the Corona crisis, there would be no relegations. The HBL agreed on this together with the Handball Bundesliga Women (HBF) and the German Handball Association (DHB), as it says in a message. Nevertheless, Bundesliga operations should ideally continue on May 16, in order to bring the currently interrupted season to an end by June 30, as planned.
The league ruled out an extension of the season until July or even August, as the EHF is planning for the European Cup competitions, after legal examination. The HBL and the club heads agreed on this at a video conference. “We will wait until April 20, after that a decision has to be made,” said sports director Stefan Kretzschmar of the Foxes Berlin. How the Bundesliga season would be judged if the game was abandoned, for example, who would then be champion, is still open. The HBL Presidium wants to present a corresponding plan to the clubs next week.
But the league and clubs are not yet giving up hope. The German Handball Association (DHB), on the other hand, went one step further, and its executive committee recommended that the state associations end the season in all leagues below the 3rd division. The committee also advocated that the DHB Cup should not be held in the next season, neither for women nor for men. “Health and the best possible fight against the coronavirus have absolute priority,” said DHB President Andreas Michelman.
The Bundesliga, meanwhile, continues to resist a demolition and wants to be guided by the decisions of the federal government, which has announced a new assessment of the current everyday restrictions for April 20. Unlike in the case of the already canceled season in the women’s Bundesliga, a continuation of the game operations remains the goal of clubs and HBL.
«First of all, I welcome the league’s decision to really consider all the options for a sporty end to the season. We all want to end the season with sport, of course, ”said Rhein-Neckar Lowen managing director Jennifer Kettemann of the“ Mannheimer Morgen ”. «But it is also clear that this will not happen at any price. Health will always come first. » Kretzschmar classified the chances of the season continuing as “rather low”.
Calls from other parts of the league had recently become louder after the end of the season. After the TVB Stuttgart, promoted HBW Balingen-Weilstetten also pleaded for an early end on Thursday. DHB captain Uwe Gensheimer from the Rhein-Neckar Lowen said in the Sport1 interview on Friday at least skeptically about a continuation. «And if it were, it would be very, very difficult to play with a large audience. In that case, only ghost games would probably be an option – and no one wants to do it, »said the 33-year-old.
The clubs are now eagerly awaiting which demolition scenario the HBL Presidium will present. The main questions will be who will be the champions and which places in the table will entitle them to participate in the European competitions.
However, the economic arguments for continuing the season are rather weak. The television money that could be generated by broadcasting the remaining games only make up a small part of the clubs’ budget. However, since the games would most likely have to take place without spectators, a large part of the important match day and sponsorship revenues would be lost.