(Reuters) – The National Football League has time on its side as the sports world prepares to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and will use some it to observe German soccer’s Bundesliga as a potential blueprint on how to deal with the outbreak.
The NFL, which is due to kick off on Sept. 10 and has not yet seen its schedule affected by the novel coronavirus, is paying close attention to protocols other leagues, particularly the Bundesliga, are putting in place in a bid to restart play, according to a report in Newsday.
The top-flight Bundesliga season will restart on May 16, making it the first European league to resume amid the pandemic that has infected more than 3.95 million people globally and killed more than 270,000.
“We’ve been in contact with all domestic leagues, but also sports organizations around the world,” Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s vice president of communications, told Newsday.
“We have a number of protocols, see what works, see what can translate into our sport.
“We’re all in the sports business, but every sport has its own matters to attend to.”
Germany’s top flight will resume under strict health protocols, with no fans allowed in stadiums.
All teams have had to go into a seven-day training camp in complete isolation with players tested before their inclusion in the camps to reduce the risk of any infection.
About 300 people, including players, staff and officials, will be in and around the stadiums during matchdays.
The NFL unveiled its 2020 schedule on Thursday with the expectation of playing games with fans in the stadiums but is approaching the season with some caution.
League commissioner Roger Goodell has informed teams they will be required to have a ticket refund policy in place for cancelled or disrupted games.
McCarthy told Newsday: “We’re looking at what we can adopt, what we can modify that is working in other sports, sharing best practices”.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Ken Ferris