The German Football League (DFL) has confirmed players won’t be punished for breaking social distancing guidelines when celebrating goals.
It says players have been advised to keep their distance, but it isn’t advice which will be strictly enforced.
Hertha Berlin defender Dedryck Boyata raised some eyebrows on the opening Saturday of the Bundesliga’s return, kissing team-mate Marko Grujic on the cheek to celebrate an own goal from Hoffenheim’s Kevin Akpoguma.
In the day’s headline fixture, Erling Haaland marked Borussia Dortmund’s opening goal in their 4-0 derby thrashing of Schalke with a pointedly socially-distanced celebration, but a DFL spokesperson says there will be no punishment for those who don’t follow suit.
The spokesperson said: “On the subject of goal celebrations, it was something that was merely advised in the guidelines – sanctions are therefore not necessary.”
Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia added: “I hope that people outside understand this. It is only a recommendation to hold back.
“We have been tested negative six times, most recently yesterday. Emotions are also a part of it. Otherwise there is no point in playing the game.”
With players at close quarters throughout the match, the efficacy of insisting on socially-distanced goal celebrations has been questioned by some as other top leagues look to come up with guidelines to get their own seasons back underway.
However, while the German first and second divisions aren’t insisting on it, other measures will nonetheless take some getting used to.
Hertha forward Vedad Ibisevic, playing against his former club, was seen spitting in the penalty area after missing a chance in the first half – something which is now against the rules.
Ibisevic did eventually get on the scoresheet in the second half as Hertha swept to a comprehensive 3-0 victory in Hoffenheim.
The Bosnian forward struck just two minutes after Akpoguma had put through his own net, with Matheus Cunha adding a late third.
The result took Hertha up to 11th in the Bundesliga, ending a run of three league games without a win.
Meanwhile, Dortmund followed their derby win with a tribute to their absent fans, saluting the Sudtribune stand where their famous ‘Yellow Wall’ usually resides.