Germany’s Bundesliga looks set to lead European soccer out of the darkness forced upon it by the coronavirus outbreak.

Germany’s government granted the domestic soccer league permission to resume play at any time from mid-May, according to Bild. Germany chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of the country’s 16 states made the decisions Wednesday at a meeting, and continuing the 2019-20 season is one of a series of COVID-19-related restrictions the government has eased as it gains stronger footing in its battle with the pandemic.

Teams have been practicing together for days in anticipation of a potential return. German Football League CEO Christian Seifert said last month the Bundesliga would be ready to play from May 9. That date always seemed overly ambitious, and many believed reports of 10 players testing positive for COVID-19 this week would threaten the Bundesliga’s resumption plans. That turned out not to be the case.

Germany will allow the Bundesliga to pick its return date, and clubs are scheduled to meet Thursday to determine when to resume. May 15 and May 22 are considered the most likely kickoff dates.

Whenever the Bundesliga decides to stage its next game, it looks certain to be the first of Europe’s major soccer leagues to return to action. However, all games will take place without fans in attendance, and teams must follow a strict hygiene regime.

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