Coronavirus pandemic

La Liga can start on June 8: Spain's PM

MADRID • Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced yesterday that La Liga matches can return from its coronavirus lockdown on June 8.

"The resumption of major professional sporting competitions and in particular La Liga will be allowed from the week of June 8," he told a press conference.

"Spain has done what it should and now... The time has come to recover many daily activities."

More than two months after the Covid-19 pandemic halted the season in Spain, players have begun training in small groups as they aim to be as ready as possible for the planned reboot next month.

La Liga president Javier Tebas tweeted his support of the premier's directive, saying: "We are very happy with the decision, it is the result of the great work of clubs, players, coaches.

"It is very important to follow the sanitary precautions and respect the evolution of the pandemic, we cannot lower our guard."

At press time, the league has yet to officially confirm a date when it will resume, although Tebas had previously said that he hoped football could return from June 12, with games to be played every three days.

Earlier this week, he hailed the return of the German Bundesliga, and said that it is an example for La Liga - with 11 rounds of matches left - to follow.

A compressed calendar would mean teams playing matches both in midweek and at weekends while fixtures will be held behind closed doors, with only 197 people allowed to attend, according to a protocol prepared by La Liga.

Players will also undergo tests for coronavirus the day before games and will have their temperatures taken before being allowed to enter stadiums.

Meanwhile, the Premier League's chief executive Richard Masters is confident the English league will also resume next month as "Project Restart" gathers pace.​

  • 10 

    Over 10 weeks since the last La Liga game was played on March 11.

Players returned to socially distanced training in small groups this week and the league hopes to begin playing from June 12 or 19.

"We've taken the first step. It's great for everybody," Masters told BBC Sport on Friday.

"We wouldn't have taken the first step to get back to training if we weren't convinced we had created a very safe environment."

He also said he was "as confident as we can be" that matches would be able to start next month, but recognised the need for "contingency plans" and admitted that "curtailment is still a possibility".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 24, 2020, with the headline 'La Liga can start on June 8: Spain's PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe