A kiss from Hertha Berlin defender Dedryck Boyata to his teammate, Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic, will not be punished, the German Football League (DFL) confirmed on Saturday. The eyebrow-raising celebratory smooch happened after Hoffenheim's Kevin Akpoguma scored an own goal during the match.
The concern isn't the level of affection Boyata displayed, but that the defender broke heavily encouraged social distancing guidelines that the Bundesliga seemed to arbitrarily put in place during the game. Players were asked to stay away from one another, presumably to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus between players who spent the last couple of weeks in isolation and were regularly tested during that period. The league seemed to have this understanding in mind when giving a statement.
"On the subject of goal celebrations, it was something that was merely advised in the guidelines - sanctions are therefore not necessary," a DFL spokesman said, per Goal.com.
Hertha Berlin manager Bruno Labbadia also chimed in, in his players' defense.
"I hope that people outside understand this. It is only a recommendation to hold back," he told reporters after the game. "We have been tested negative six times, most recently yesterday. Emotions are also a part of it. Otherwise, there is no point in playing the game."
The celebration did nothing to affect the team's performance on the field, as Hertha Berlin defeated their opponents 3-0.