Eibar players, staff fear fresh outbreak from La Liga restart

Eibar’s players and coaches said it would be impossible to physically distance themselves from each other.

A couple wearing protective face masks walk past a closed ticket office at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday. The La Liga aims to restart in June without spectators.   -  AP

Players and coaching staff of La Liga club Eibar said on Tuesday they were afraid restarting competitive matches could contribute to a fresh outbreak of the coronavirus in Spain.

In a statement released independently of the club, Eibar’s players and coaches said it would be impossible to physically distance themselves from each other, as recommended by the Spanish government.

Eibar, which sits 16th in the table, is aware of the statement but has said the club will still adhere to the timetable set out by La Liga for training and then matches to return.

“We are afraid to start an activity where we will not be able to meet the first recommendation of all experts, which is physical distancing,” said Eibar’s players and coaching staff in a statement.

‘Concerned’

“We are concerned that by doing what we love most, we could catch the virus, infect our family and friends, and even contribute to a new outbreak of the epidemic, with the terrible consequences that would have for the entire population. The priority must be the health of everyone and it is time for that idea to prevail with facts, not just words. Only with that clear premise would it make sense to return to competition. We ask for guarantees. We demand responsibility.”

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La Liga players are undergoing tests and working individually at training grounds this week as part of a plan to move gradually into groups, with the aim of resuming games behind closed doors in June.

Spain has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world by the coronavirus pandemic. There have been 25,613 deaths in the country, according to the latest figures on Tuesday. As part of the government’s de-escalation programme, adults were allowed outside to exercise last weekend for the first time in seven weeks.

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