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23 May, 2020 13:44

Green light: Spanish government gives go-ahead for La Liga resumption from June 8

Green light: Spanish government gives go-ahead for La Liga resumption from June 8

Spanish football appears set to emerge from its coronavirus hiatus next month after government officials gave their blessing to the resumption of football after a two-month break amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has given his blessing for the return of football from the week starting June 8 after it had been suspended since mid-March, but football authorities have been assessing the situation in a bid to conclude the campaign should the public health situation allow for it.

La Liga officials have been pushing for a June 12 restart date, and Sanchez's announcement now gives the league a concrete return date to target. 

"Spain has done what it should and now new horizons are opening for everyone," Sanchez announced on Saturday.

"The time has come to resume many daily activities. From June 8, La Liga will return to football."

La Liga president Javier Tebas indicated earlier this week that he was confident that the league could return to action shortly, so long as the necessary clearance was given from public health officials - and Sanchez's dictum clears a path for this to become possible.

"We are very happy with the decision, it is the result of the great work of clubs, players, coaches ... CSD and agents involved," Tebas wrote on Twitter Saturday via translation.

"But it is very important to follow the sanitary norms and that the evolution of the pandemic respects us, we cannot lower our guard."

Spanish teams were granted permission to return to training this week with players exercising in groups of no more than 10, and it seems likely that social distancing practices will need to be adhered to as football emerges from its virus-induced slumber.

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Widespread Covid-19 tests have been made available for players in Spain's top two divisions before the return to training in mid May. Five players tested positive for the potentially deadly virus and were placed into isolation.

Following the lead from other European leagues which have resumed play, most notably the German Bundesliga, La Liga games will take place behind closed doors - though Spanish national team coach Luis Enrique has signalled his disapproval of the safety measure, saying this week that playing football in an empty stadium is akin to "dancing with your own sister."

"But you have to understand that football is a business – and it will help to pass the time during lockdown," he conceded.

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