An amateur soccer team in Germany suffered a bad defeat this past Sunday after only seven players took the field. The seven who played, employed social distancing at their opponents but it’s very tough to do that in a sport where you need to be close to your opponent. So they wound up losing 37-0.
According to ESPN, SG Ripdorf/Molzen II was playing rival SV Holdenstedt II this past Sunday in the 3. Kreisklasse. To put this in perspective, the 3. Kreisklasse is a regional league that’s on the 11th step of the German soccer pyramid. Thousands of teams sit between these teams and German champs Bayern Munich so those playing in 3. Kreisklasse are likely “weekend warrior” type amateurs who are playing for the love of the game.
Anyway, the Holdenstedt team was previously exposed to an opposing player who had tested positive for COVID-19 in a previous game. Holdenstedt players tested negative but they were still within the 14-day period where people could still contract the virus and Ripdorf players weren’t comfortable playing under those circumstances. The league didn’t see things Ripdorf’s way after they tried to get the game postponed and according to co-chairperson Patrick Ristow, Ripdorf would’ve been fined €200 ($236) if they didn’t play. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is for a team situated that low in the system.
Seven players is the minimum a team can field before being forced to forfeit so seven volunteered to take the field while the rest sat out. The seven who did, avoided getting within six feet of Holdenstedt players and while there seemed to be confusion at first, Holdenstedt scored and kept scoring, ultimately winning 37-0.
Ristow admitted there was no ideal scenario but it seemed they did what they felt they had to do, despite the heavy loss. Holdenstedt may have been somewhat overcautious but unlike the pros where their living is based on playing, amateurs in the lower leagues have other jobs in order to make a living. Contracting COVID-19 while playing an amateur soccer game not only might harm one’s health, it might prevent them from working their day-to-day job so maybe that was worth losing out on three points.