A video of Hertha Berlin forward Salomon Kalou shaking hands with his team-mates “shocked” key German politicians, who are set to decide Wednesday whether the Bundesliga can resume later this month.
“The video has done the German league (DFL) and professional football a disservice,” Anja Stahmann, chairwoman of Germany’s regional sports ministers, told radio station RBB on Wednesday.
“I have heard from colleagues that they are shocked and shaken.
“We were struck by great doubts when we watched the video,” admitted the sports senator for the state of Bremen.
“I got the impression that good rules were being written down on paper, but that they were not actually being lived out.”
The Bundesliga is set to be given the green light by the government on Wednesday to resume later this month behind closed doors and with strict hygiene measures in place.
Germany’s regional sports ministers have already approved the Bundesliga’s plans to resume, but Stahmann said Ivory Coast international Kalou’s video left a bad impression.
“Some people think the Bundesliga has lost its grip in times of a pandemic,” Stahmann added.
On Monday, the former Chelsea forward was suspended by Hertha after posting a video to Facebook showing him greeting team-mates and club employees with handshakes, flaunting hygiene guidelines laid out by the league.
Kalou apologised for disregarding the social distancing rules, saying: “it was a big mistake”.
The 34-year-old also said he could understand how his video, shot in the dressing room, caused shockwaves as the league was seeking permission to return to action.
Kalou has scored 48 goals in 151 Bundesliga games for Hertha, but is out of contract at the end of the season and could have played his last game for the club.
“It was respectless and I want to apologise for that sincerely,” he added.
“But I am about more than those five bad minutes that people see of me in the dressing room.”
However, Kalou’s video drew criticism from the top of the German government.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said it was “right” that Hertha suspended Kalou and there were “consequences after the video”.
Bavaria’s premier minister Markus Soeder said the league has developed an “excellent” hygiene concept but “there are individual players, as we have read, who are behaving very, very poorly”.