BERLIN (Reuters) – Cologne will be without their mascot, Hennes the goat, for the first time in 12 years when they resume their Bundesliga season on Sunday against Mainz 05, with the animal having fallen victim to strict health regulations.

The Bundesliga becomes the first major sports league to restart on Saturday after a break of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic but games will be played in empty stadiums.

Just over 300 officials and staff are allowed in or around the stadiums for each league game, to reduce the risk of infection and players have been quarantined all week to avoid contact.

Among those who failed to make the cut are all mascots, including Hennes, who is paraded onto the pitch at the start of each home game.

According to Cologne newspaper Express it will be the first time since 2008 that Hennes or any of his namesake predecessors failed to appear before kickoff.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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