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Cologne squad tests negative for coronavirus after three positive cases


Berlin (AFP) – The Bundesliga’s hopes of a restart were lifted on Monday when tests on the Cologne squad revealed no further cases of coronavirus.

The German league’s plans to restart this month hit a road bump on Friday when it emerged that three people at Cologne — midfielder Niklas Hauptmann and defender Ismail Jakobs, and a club physio — had tested positive.

The trio remain in quarantine and a second round of tests on Sunday on the other squad members and staff were all  negative, the club said Monday.

The German Football League (DFL) plans to resume from May 16 behind closed doors, providing it gets permission from Angela Merkel’s government.

A decision is expected on Wednesday.

On Sunday, Horst Seehofer, Germany’s minister for sport and the interior, said he supported a resumption of the Bundesliga, despite the positive tests in Cologne.

Part of the restart plan is that players are tested every few days and are only be allowed to play after returning two negatives.

The 18 clubs in Germany’s top flight started testing their players and staff last week. 

On Monday, defending champions Bayern Munich, who were four points clear when the Bundesliga was halted on March 13, announced that all those tested had negative results.

Since early April, Germany’s top clubs have been training mainly in small groups in anticipation of the league resuming.

Germany had reported 163,175 cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, but its death toll of 6,692 remains much lower than in Spain, France, the UK and Italy, home to Europe’s other top football leagues.

A return in May would make the Bundesliga the first top league in Europe to resume as Germany cautiously eases lockdown measures.

Germany’s top clubs are desperate for the season to be completed by June 30 in order to claim an instalment of television money worth 300 million euros ($325 million).

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