BERLIN (Reuters) - The German Football League (DFL) on Wednesday said it regretted a government decision to ban spectators from football stadiums from next week as part of new measures to curb a rise in COVID-19 infections across the country.
Professional sports events will be allowed to be held only without spectators from Nov. 2 as part of nationwide rules announced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday.
"The Bundesliga and second Bundesliga clubs developed in the past weeks a health plan for the effective protection of spectators in the stadiums and agreed it with local health authorities," the DFL said in a statement.
"Fans and clubs then stuck to the rules with discipline living up to their responsibilities. That is why it is regrettable that this will not be possible for now."
Since mid-September fans have gradually been allowed back to stadiums in Germany in limited numbers of a few hundred or a few thousand people.
Germany, Europe's largest economy, was widely praised for keeping infection and death rates below those of many of its neighbours in the first phase of the pandemic but is now in the midst of a second wave, like much of the rest of the continent.
Cases rose by 14,964 to 464,239 in the last 24 hours, Germany's infections diseases agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said on Wednesday.
Deaths jumped by 85 to 10,183, heightening fears for the health system after Merkel warned it could hit breaking point if infections continue to spiral.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)