Several German third division clubs demand season halted

By Sebastian Wutzler and Frank Kastner, dpa

Eight clubs from Germany’s third division on Friday demanded the season be halted as it stands in order to prevent protect health and prevent further financial damage.

Waldhof Mannheim, Halle, Magdeburg, Carl Zeiss Jena, Chemnitz, Preussen Muenster, Zwickau and Sonnenhof Grossaspach wrote a communal position paper saying they saw no way of completing the season.

“From our point of view, this is the sportingly bitter, but also the only possible way, in which social reality, the protection of health and economic necessity can be reconciled,” they said.

The clubs suggested that the current table be used to determine promotion places but relegation from the division, to Germany’s regional leagues, be scrapped.

“This leads to more teams next season but makes a fair compromise and enables partial economic and media compensation in the coming season,” the clubs said.

All German football is suspended until at least April 30 but the Bundesliga and second division – mindful of large television contracts – hope to play behind closed doors from May to complete the season.

But there is opposition within the 20-team third division to calling the season early.

“There is no other solution for us than playing the season to the end because only then can a sportingly fair result be reached,” said Unterhaching president Manfred Schwabl.

Unsurprisingly, self-interest would seem to be at play. Unterhaching are currently in the promotion play-off place while the eight clubs who suggested ending matters would all seem to benefit from doing so.

Their plan would see Mannheim promoted while the remaining seven are either in the relegation zone or just above it.

Despite this, they insist their reasons are honourable as the “price for a continuation of the season may not be irresponsibly high.”

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