May 26 – Spain looks set to become the second of the Big Five leagues in Europe – four if you take into account the fact that football in France has been abandoned – to resume playing top-flight fixtures.
A behind closed doors derby between Real Betis and Sevilla could restart the La Liga season on June 11 with La Liga chief Javier Tebas telling Spanish TV he hopes the match can be “a tribute to all the people who have died”.
On Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gave permission for the country’s top two divisions to resume from June 8.
Tebas warned players to “be careful with their actions” after four Sevilla players apologised for breaking rules on social gathering. Ever Banega, Lucas Ocampos, Franco Vazquez and Luuk de Jong were pictured at a party at the weekend.
“Players are an example to society and should be careful with their actions,” Tebas said. “I call on all footballers to not act like this. We have to be very careful because a lot of people’s jobs are at stake.”
Spain is one of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 28,000 deaths. But the fatality rate has been steadily declining, with 56 deaths registered on Friday.
Football in Spain was suspended on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic with Barcelona two points ahead of Real Madrid with 11 rounds still to play.
Tebas said the next objective was to progress to full training.
“Right now that’s our main goal, and if we can achieve that then we can start to bring forward the return of the competition. Our aim is to be able to announce the first four rounds of fixtures next week,” he added.
“The government’s announcement took us by surprise but it shows that professional football is very important to this country. We are very happy for the decision… but we cannot lower our guard, it is important to follow health regulations and ensure the pandemic doesn’t come back.”
Meanwhile, Portugal’s Primeira Liga will resume on June 3, with Portimonense against Gil Vicente and Famalicao hosting leaders Porto.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org