Football fans around the world rejoiced as the Bundesliga returned to action on Saturday.
It had been over two months since supporters had seen a top European league in action and one of the most interesting ties on the opening day came with Hertha Berlin’s trip to Hoffenheim.
Hertha got one over their mid-table rivals with an impressive 3-0 win at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena and Matheus Cunha grabbed plenty of headlines for scoring a fine solo goal from the left flank.
However, in the hours since that win on the road, the behaviour of Hertha players has come in for criticism and it concerns their handling of the COVID-19 guidelines given out by the league.
The Bundesliga have outlined as many regulations as possible to protect the players, staff and everyone in attendance of games from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As part of that, players have been advised to keep their distance during celebrations and essentially social-distance as best they can by avoiding close contact deemed unnecessary.
Obviously, we’re talking about a contact sport here, so you can only do that to a certain extent, but Erling Haaland gave a perfect example of how to celebrate and keep your distance vs Schalke.
The same can’t be said of Hertha players, though, who were seen closely embracing after their three goals and Dedryck Boyata was even accused of kissing his teammate Mark Gruijic.
Boyata apologises for ‘kiss’ on Instagram
The former Manchester City player felt it necessary to apologise for the incident on Instagram, although he did clear up that he was whispering instructions as opposed to landing his lips.
“It wasnt a Kiss, neither a Celebration. I apologize for putting my hands on @grujicmarko face. I was giving him instructions about a set piece.
“We must definitely be careful now that we play under this situation. We have to adapt our way to play or celebrate.”
Celebrations criticised by rivals
As for the goal celebrations, which you can see down below, their handling hasn’t gone down well with Bayer Leverkusen boss Peter Bosz, who opined that they should not be repeated.
Were Hertha in the wrong?
Per Goal, the coach said during his press conference: “In the beginning we talked about emotions and they are part of football. I can imagine that when Hertha scores at Hoffenheim, that they want to celebrate.
“They must not do it this way. I know that. Next time, I don’t think they’ll do it that way. But goals are emotional moments in which they may have forgotten. You’re not allowed to do that, but I can imagine that it happens from time to time.”
But what do the Bundesliga say about the situation? Well, the guidelines on celebrations are simply advisory, so they can’t punish Hertha for their actions even if they wanted to.
A league spokesperson stated: “On the subject of goal celebrations, it was something that was merely advised in the guidelines – sanctions are therefore not necessary.”
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