Social distancing costs a German football team 37-0 defeat

Published: Sep 22, 2020, 2:42 pm IST

Berlin: A lower-league amateur football team in Germany suffered a humiliating 0-37 defeat after only fielding seven players in a bid to maintain social distancing against their opponents as they feared contracting the coronavirus.

On September 13, SG Ripdorf/Molzen II faced their city rivals SV Holdenstedt II in the 3. Kreisklasse, one of the lowest leagues in the German system and lost the match by a margin of 0-37, as per a report in ESPN. Holdenstedt were ruthless in their approach and scored 37 goals, one nearly every two minutes.

Coming into the game, Ripdorf players had asked for a postponement when they heard the Holdenstedt players had been exposed to an opponent with coronavirus in the previous weekend’s game. While the Holdenstedt squad later tested negative for the virus, the Ripdorf players did not feel safe due to the 14-day infection period.

Fearing infections with Covid-19, several players did not want to take to the pitch and in the end, only seven players — the minimum number required for a football match — appeared for Ripdorf.

“We tried to postpone the match,” Ripdorf co-chair Patrick Ristow told ESPN. “But Holdenstedt wanted to play.”

“When the game kicked off, one of our players passed the ball to the opponent and our team walked to the sidelines. Holdenstedt scored, but the referee booked our captain for unsportsmanlike conduct,” he added.

He further said as his team didn’t want to risk anything, the players returned to the field but they only stood on the pitch. “They did not go into direct duels and observed the social distancing rules, keeping two metres between them and Holdenstedt players.”

The biggest known defeat for a football team is 149-0, a remarkable score that occurred in a 2002 game between the AS Adema and SO l’Emyrne clubs in Madagascar.

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