How is basketball different from volleyball

Handball, basketball, ice hockey, volleyball : How the national leagues react to the ban on major events

Due to the spread of the corona virus, no major events may be held in Germany until August 31 - this decision will hit the national leagues in handball, basketball, ice hockey and volleyball hard. Because they are much more dependent on the audience income than the professional football clubs.

At their last announcement, the Bundesliga handball clubs agreed that the current season would have to be continued on May 16 at the latest for legal reasons. Next Monday they wanted to reach a final agreement on how and whether it can go on.

This appointment was already held on Thursday morning, after the new resolutions of the federal and state governments and their preliminary cancellation of major events on Wednesday evening, people felt urged to proceed faster. The result of the video switching with all clubs of the two top divisions is now the decision on a vote in which a decision will be made in the next few days about an early termination of the season.

"Everyone agrees that we will do it soon," said Bob Hanning, managing director of Füchse Berlin. A continuation of the season is still possible. "Personally, I am a friend of continuing to play and I see opportunities for it," said Hanning. "I submitted a proposal to the league as to what a scenario could look like." He kept silent about the content. According to reports, this is the plan that all 18 Bundesliga clubs come together in one place in June and play the remaining games within the shortest possible time.

If a three-quarters majority votes for the end of the season, the Presidium of Handball-Bundesliga GmbH (HBL) alone decides whether there is a champion and relegated and promoted team. The clubs have no say in this matter. "We hope that we will have the result at the next switch on Monday or Tuesday," said HBL managing director Frank Bohmann on Thursday.

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A cancellation of the previous season is obviously not the preferred variant of the HBL. A quotient regulation, in which the previous point average of each team is determined and then extrapolated to the outstanding games, is conceivable. "We will not be able to produce 100 percent justice," said Bohmann. In particular, the assessment by the HBL is likely to lead to protests. “We had a legal opinion drawn up by sports lawyers,” reported Bohmann.

If the decision to continue, the entire handball circus would face a major challenge. According to the HBL decision, the season must be completed by June 30th. "We have to give the teams three to four weeks' lead time for preparation," said Bohmann. For this, however, proper training conditions would have to prevail again, which are not yet permitted. Whether afterwards ghost games are allowed in the respective halls and can be implemented in terms of time or whether tournaments are possible at certain locations within a few days - that is initially subject to the assessment of the health authorities.

The season of the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) usually does not start until the beginning of October. This is both a blessing and a curse for the league at the moment. A curse for the current season, because the later start of the season means that there are more games to be played than anywhere else - at least eleven per team. A blessing for the coming season, because August 31 is still a bit away from the regular start of the season. "The difficult thing at the moment is that you have to combine the short-term with the medium and long-term," says Marco Baldi, the manager of Alba Berlin. "In the pure struggle for survival, you sometimes forget that there is still tomorrow."

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The game has been paused since March 12th, and a decision on how to continue should be made at the end of April. In the meantime, some clubs have already created facts and canceled contracts with many of their US professionals. Some openly demand the end of the season. That creates a bad mood. Baldi would like a joint approach: "Many have swept their yard and are now looking at the BBL and asking: What do we do if it takes even longer?"

The ban on major events until the end of August may seem like a first warning shot in this regard, even if BBL managing director Stefan Holz emphasizes: "That didn't surprise us one percent." For the time being, the league is only planning ghost games - for now but once in the hope that this will somehow just bring the current season to an end. Up to 25 million euros in loss are in the room for the BBL, should it not continue, about one sixth of the total turnover.

Individual central venues for the remaining encounters are now being discussed. "You would then probably look for a place in the north, one in the middle and one in the south of Germany", says Ligachef Holz. Around 80 to 100 participants should then be in the hall. However, the hurdles are high: hygiene regulations would have to be implemented, an elaborate test procedure would be necessary, and beforehand there would be a two-week break for quarantine and preparation.

The plans of the German Football League (DFL) are an orientation here. “You have to try to actively shape things. The DFL does that, and I think the BBL should do that too, ”says Marco Baldi. Should politicians give their green light to the ghost game plans of professional football, that will not necessarily set a precedent for basketball. Economic dimension, public significance, the difference between the open air and a closed hall - Baldi also recognizes "other specifics": "Therefore, I would not be offended if there was no automatism."

Those responsible in ice hockey are now under pressure. That is why there was still a phone call between the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) and the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) and DEL2 on Thursday. They want to sound out the consequences of the event ban for German ice hockey.

In the DEL, the start of the season is planned for September 18th. If games with an audience are still not possible in September due to the coronavirus pandemic, this could lead to the collapse of the league. “The game operations would then not be refinancing. That can only be a temporary and short-term scenario, ”DEL managing director Gernot Tripcke recently said.

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If the start with spectators is not possible, the start of the season would very likely be postponed. The losses were already devastating due to the cancellation of the current season before the play-offs. "For the DEL Group, I expect around 15 to 20 million euros in sales losses due to the cancellation of the play-offs," said Tripcke.

The effects on international competition are also enormous. The Champions League for four clubs from the league (Munich, Mannheim, Straubing and Eisbären) should actually start at the end of August. So either ghost games would have to be played or games would have to be postponed. Which would complicate the situation for the European leagues, as they are already tightly knit in terms of time.

The season in the Volleyball Bundesliga (VBL) was terminated prematurely in March and the new season would probably not start until October, but whether the league will be able to provide an acceptable number of clubs is currently questionable. After the TV Rottenburg, promoted Eltmann as well as the alpine volleys from Unterhaching and Innsbruck have now announced that they will no longer compete in the top division.

“This crisis will affect volleyball very much. The economic power of the clubs is on the decline, ”said Kaweh Niroomand of the“ Berliner Morgenpost ”. From the point of view of the manager of the BR Volleys, planning for the coming season is out of the question. The fact that some clubs have now got into extreme difficulties, he partly blames the leaders of the league.

The VBL product is very good, said Niroomand, but if you can't find partners for it, “it's not just a market problem. In other words, it fails to attract sponsors ”. Thus, the clubs would not receive any economic support from the league and would have to take care of themselves. VBL managing director Klaus-Peter Jung, who has been looking for a name sponsor for the league in vain for years, continues to assume a league of ten for the new season - if the crisis doesn't drag on any longer. (with dpa)

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