SZ: Mr. Clarke, on Wednesday Bavarian handball was suspended for three game days. Do you believe in a resumption of the season?

Georg Clarke: I’m ambivalent about the development, but as long as the government gives us the opportunity and we can adhere to the hygiene concepts, I’m optimistic.

Half of the games in the Bayernliga were canceled. When do you want to make up for it – hardly in English weeks?

That is not possible in the amateur field. But we have the option to extend the season until June 30th, possibly even until July 30th, 2021. We will also pull the joker because we are interested in a sporty solution and not in a quotient rule.

So no second dropout without relegation?

The minimum sporting requirement is to end the season with at least one single round. With extra time, the athletic requirement is a full season with a return leg.

Given the quarantine situation, is there even an equal opportunity?

No, that is not currently the case in amateur sport. There are teams with infected players, or those in peripheral areas where players from a risk area are not allowed to travel. Or players who cannot play because the risk for employers is too high.

Are seven healthy players enough to play?

There is no such requirement, it’s a myth in clubs. If there are proven between one and three positive corona cases, the game will be canceled.

And counted as lost?

No, as suspended at the moment and not judged by the sports court until we see how far we can get.

Ice hockey still wants, basketball started recently, the BHV at the beginning of October. Would you do it again?

We communicated this to the clubs in mid-July; in a nationwide comparison we were the third from last. But with regard to the school holidays and hygiene regulations, it was too early. We should have waited for the autumn break and started at the end of October. We misjudged that.

Georg Clarke, 56, is head of nursing in a psychiatric clinic – and honorary president of the Bavarian Handball Association. In this role he currently has to put up with a lot of criticism, often in an unacceptable form.

(Photo: Roland Krivec / imago)

It was criticized that the hygiene regulations only reached the clubs three days before the start of the game, right?

Yes, unfortunately. We had to wait until we got the general conditions from the Free State. The clubs had had the hygiene concepts for friendly matches since August 1st, which only differ in the addition of spectators, a nuance. But I can understand the criticism and take it seriously.

So the clubs were a little sluggish?

That is also understandable, there is currently no right or wrong, but a deep uncertainty.

Those responsible in the clubs are mostly volunteers. Aren’t they asking a bit much of them?

You have to know that associations and politics specify framework conditions, but the hygiene concepts are approved by the hall owners, i.e. the district office or city administration. They provide the content, it’s different in every hall. The clubs are under enormous strain, which cannot be achieved for a whole season.

You hear wild things, for example that guest players have to be picked up one at a time from the parking lot.

There are a wide variety of requirements from the hall owners, face masks up to entering the field, the changing rooms are often closed, the players have to move, that is unthinkable in winter.

Allegedly every club has to name a person who is liable.

No, every association has to appoint a hygiene officer who is responsible for ensuring that hygiene guidelines are in place and, if possible, implemented. As usual, liability lies with the board of the main association.

What if a group of mask refusers come into the hall?

Is she expelled from the hall or the police called.

For the sake of simplicity, many clubs do not allow spectators at all. Can’t that be the solution?

At the moment I prefer we can play handball and forego spectators than the other way around.

Some clubs canceled their registration completely.

There are currently eight clubs in Bavaria. I see it critically, but I can understand the decision, every club has to agree with its members. We have to tolerate that, but we make sure that these clubs do not suffer any significant disadvantages.

480 handball games

were canceled last weekend in Bavaria alone – more than half of the 800 scheduled games. All cancellations had to do with the corona pandemic. Either players were infected with the virus, there were suspected cases, or the clubs were unable to implement the hygiene regulations of the respective health authorities.

The Bayern league team Ro├čtal has decided and is the first to be relegated.

However, the BHV retains the option of making hardship decisions at the end of the season in order to avoid relegations.

So a termination without relegation?

That would be one possibility.

Even the end of the season after three weeks?

That would be a disaster for handball, we would lose massive numbers of members. At the moment the majority of clubs want to play, only the general conditions are difficult. Without competition, I deprive the sport of the foundation.

Not to forget the social importance of sport.

In our current situation, a little normalcy will help us deal better with the pandemic. Sport, like school, education and culture, is of central importance. That’s why we wanted to resume gaming quickly to show that we can lead a relatively normal life if we can adhere to the hygiene measures.

The BHV is in a dilemma between normalcy and the risk of infection.

We must succeed in creating framework conditions for members that exude a certain security. Hence the break to work on it.

They represent the BHV. Are you being attacked or threatened?

There is all that, but also a lot of understanding and support. We try to respond to everything as long as it is done in a reasonable form. But I haven’t looked at social media for a long time.

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