Could this be the first Norwich City player back in action?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Philip Heise could be the first Norwich City player to play a game of football since the sport was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Heise is currently on loan to Bundesliga 2 side FC Nurnberg in Germany, where the government has agreed to resume playing on Saturday, May 16 – becoming the first European league to restart following the shutdown.
The 28-year-old joined City in January 2019 from Dynamo Dresden but has been unable to break into the first team and in January this year joined FC Nurnberg on loan for the rest of the season. FC Nurnberg’s first game back is away to Holstein Kiel.
The ruling in Germany means Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are both able to resume playing, but without spectators at games.
Chancellor Angela Merkel says Bundesliga players and staff will not have to quarantine for 14 days because of the clubs’ regular testing capacity.
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“Testing is regular there, so the quarantine period is not set to 14 days,” she said.
The majority of Bundesliga clubs have nine matches left to play in this campaign - Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen have 10 - with leaders Bayern Munich four points ahead of Borussia Dortmund in second.
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The league’s potential return had been under scrutiny after Cologne reported three people at the club had tested positive for coronavirus last week and Hertha Berlin forward Salomon Kalou was suspended after ignoring social distancing measures at the club’s training ground. Former Chelsea player Kalou, 34, was seen shaking hands with his Hertha team-mates and interrupting a medical check-up of another.
One of the games on the day of relaunch will be the derby between Schalke and Borussia Dortmund.
Champions Bayern Munich travel to Union Berlin on the Sunday. The final weekend of the season has been rescheduled for June 27-28.
Elsewhere, the Dutch health minister has warned spectators may not be able to return to watch sporting events “for a year or more”, until a vaccine is found.
Professional sport even behind closed doors in Holland has been prohibited until September 1 at the earliest, which has already led to the top-flight Eredivisie football competition being forced to end prematurely.
Dutch website voetbalprimeur.nl quoted a letter from health minister Hugo de Jonge to the nation’s parliament which read: “We cannot yet mention a date for the last step, the mass gatherings.
“That is actually only possible if there is a vaccine and no one knows how long it will take. We hope of course soon, but a year or more is very real.”