A lower league soccer team in Germany worried about coronavirus infection socially distanced themselves from each other, the opposing team's players—and apparently the ball. Ripdorf lost 37-0 on Sept. 13 after their request to have the game against local rivals SV Holdenstedt II was rejected, the BBC reports. They said they felt the game was unsafe because Holdenstedt players came into contact in a game less than 14 days ago with somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. Ripdorf fielded only seven players—the minimum number allowed—instead of the usual 11. They would have faced a fine of 200 Euros, around $240, if they had refused to play.
"We tried to postpone the match. But Holdenstedt wanted to play," Ripdorf co-chair Patrick Ristow tells ESPN. "We are thankful those seven players volunteered, otherwise the club would have faced a €200 fine for abandoning the match," he says. "That's a lot of money for us, especially amid the pandemic." He says that during the game, Ripdorf players stood on the pitch but "did not go into direct duels" and kept their distance from Holdenstedt players at all times. Their opponents scored at a rate of a goal every two minutes. "There was no reason not to play this game," Holdenstedt coach Florian Schierwater said afterward. (Read more soccer stories.)