By Spy Uganda.
Spain: La Liga organizers have given permission to clubs in Spain’s top two soccer divisions to hold full training sessions from Monday for the first time since returning to activity after action was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Clubs will begin collective training after the government’s latest health order on the easing of restrictions,” La Liga said in a statement on Saturday.
Teams returned to individual training at the start of May before progressing to training in groups of up 10 players two weeks later and groups of 14 players from last Monday.
The top flight will resume on June 11 without fans attending, with Sevilla taking on Real Betis and with matches potentially to be played every day of the week until the season is concluded on July 19.
All organised football in Spain was provisionally suspended on March 12 as the virus ravaged the country, but the rate of infection has slowed significantly.
Thirty-nine people died in the last week compared with a daily death toll in the hundreds a month ago, the health ministry said on Friday.
Looking at Premier League, officials made a significant stride toward restarting matches on Wednesday after all 20 clubs unanimously agreed to resume contact training.
A brief shareholders meeting concluded with a vote on moving to Phase 2 of preparations following discussions on Tuesday between players, managers and league representatives designed to assuage concerns about social distancing.
The league also confirmed on Wednesday that it had four positive cases from three clubs following its third round of testing of 1,008 players and club staff.
Several players, including Chealsea midfielder Ngolo Kante and Watford striker Troy, have opted to pursue individual programmes at home, partly due to statistics indicating people from a BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) background are more likely to die from COVID-19.
Regarding contact training, the league said: “Premier League shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training — marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so.
“Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol has been agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association), the LMA (League Managers’ Association) and the Government. Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season when conditions allow.”
Those conversations will continue on Thursday when the Premier League meets again to discuss wide-ranging issues including a restart date, television scheduling and contingency plans if the season has to be curtailed.
Sources revealed that on Monday that the original June 12 return date is now viewed by many to be too soon to build up players’ fitness to a level that minimizes the risk of injury. A date later in the month possibly June 19 or June 26 if the commitment to resuming on a Friday night remains is most likely.
For now, contact training will resume with further encouragement taken from the Bundesliga’s successful return in Germany. Two rounds of tests in the Premier League have returned just eight positive cases, and players have been assured that a detailed track and trace system will make them safe to train and play.
The United Kingdom government remains supportive of football’s return and is reviewing nationwide lockdown measures with a view to easing restrictions in several areas next week.