Coronavirus: European football could resume by mid-May, says La Liga's Tebas

Real Madrid players during the warm up before a match, on March 8, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (REUTERS) - La Liga chief Javier Tebas believes Europe's football leagues should be able to restart by mid-May and the season can be completed now the European Championship has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"In mid-May we should be able to be back on with all European competitions. All of them. Of course, it depends on how the pandemic evolves," Tebas told Marca on Wednesday (March 18). "It could even be before then, but this is the date that we are working on as a latest in order to start up again."

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed a 15-day nationwide lockdown last Saturday as part of state of emergency measures to control the spread of the disease.

Regarding whether matches will be played behind closed doors, Tebas added: "All depends on the health authorities in each individual country. We are talking about the schedules of more than 30 league seasons. It all has to be done together."

Tebas said the Euro 2020 postponement, which was announced by Uefa on Tuesday, means the club season should be able to finish - and resume again next term - on time.

"We don't want to change any seasons; we haven't thought about doing that. In this situation, the scenarios we are considering are all short term," he said. "If we can't sort out the short term then, unfortunately, we aren't going to have time to sort out anything more long term. We aren't allowing that to enter our minds."

Tebas also confirmed that La Liga had sent coronavirus test kits to all of its clubs so players can be tested.

"We sent them out before the state of emergency was declared. We contracted a completely private service and made the kits available to those who wanted them, those who thought they were necessary for such a situation."

The president of the Spanish football federation, Luis Rubiales, had attacked the league's plan to carry out coronavirus tests at every first and second division club as "irresponsible" when there were others who need to be tested more urgently amid the health crisis.

On Wednesday, Real Valladolid said they had refused the tests on the grounds that other people were more needy, while Alaves announced 15 positive cases. Tebas would not be drawn on each club's decision.

"I'd rather not get into that. Some of the things that have been said have surprised me, but right now I'd rather abstain from as to why people haven't wanted the testing kits."

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