Handball: German clubs decide to abandon season

BERLIN (Reuters) – German’s top handball clubs have voted in favour of abandoning their season and not resuming play once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, the league (HBL) said on Tuesday.

The 36 clubs of the top two divisions voted by an overwhelming majority to end the campaign after having played 26 matchdays, with THW Kiel crowned champions.

«After six weeks of corona crisis our situation is very serious,» league (HBL) managing director Frank Bohmann said.

«Thanks to a good crisis management we will also survive the coming weeks. But abandoning the season underlines the grave threat that we are facing.

«Decisive for our existence will now be when we can play in front of spectators again.»

Germany partially lifted its lockdown this week with some smaller shops re-opening but it is unlikely to give the all-clear for major sports events attended by fans any time soon.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 143,000 people and killed over 4,500 in Germany.

Germany’s top football league — the Bundesliga — is expected to resume next month in front of empty stands.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)