Coronavirus: La Liga to restart training, aims June end to season

Basic training has been allowed to resume in Spain on Monday after the government eased some of the lockdown measures that had been in place since mid-March.

Spanish league players are expected to get back on the field later in the week after they are tested for COVID-19.   -  Getty Images

Professional soccer players in Spain will be tested this week so they can start training again for the first time in nearly two months.

Basic training has been allowed to resume in Spain on Monday after the government eased some of the lockdown measures that had been in place since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Spanish league players are expected to get back on the field by the end of week,  after they are tested for COVID-19 and after the clubs’ training facilities are properly prepared and disinfected. The facilities will have to be inspected to make sure they comply to the cleaning protocols established by local authorities.

“People's health is paramount, so we have a comprehensive protocol to safeguard the health of everyone involved as we work to restart La Liga,” league president Javier Tebas said in the statement.

“Circumstances are unprecedented, but we hope to start playing again in June and finish our 19/20 season this summer,” he added.

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All players, coaches and club employees who are going to be involved in the initial training phase will have to be tested two days before the individual practices can begin.

The league wants a period of training of about a month before it can resume with matches in empty stadiums sometime in June. There is no set date yet for the league’s resumption.

The league recently sent clubs a protocol with safety guidelines on how to return to practice. The protocol, which was obtained by The Associated Press, has a four-stage plan that details the current preparation phase, an individual training stage, a phase with smaller group sessions and finally one with full squad sessions.

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Players will be allowed to use the teams’ training facilities but won’t be allowed to interact with teammates in the initial phase. They will travel individually to the facilities and must arrive already wearing their training uniforms.

No more than six players will be allowed on the field at the same time, and they must stay the greatest distance possible from each other. The use of equipment should be limited and coaches must supervise players from a distance.

Players must wear gloves and masks until going onto the pitch, and only one or two players can share the gym at a time. The league protocol, which was prepared by the medical staff of some first-division clubs, recommends that players — and those living with them — should not leave their homes other than to go to practice. It says each club must establish a food-delivery system for first-team players.

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Spain was one of the hardest hit countries by the pandemic but it started loosening some of its restrictions on movement as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 started to go down in recent weeks. The country first went into a state of emergency on March 14.

Teams in Italy are also expected to resume training this week. Clubs in England and Germany have already reopened their training centers, while the French league was canceled last week.

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