Lionel Messi and the other footballing superstars of La Liga have been given the all-clear to take to the field again in the second week of June, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez announced Saturday.
“The resumption of major professional sporting competitions and, in particular, La Liga will be allowed from the week of June 8,” Sanchez said in a televised address to the nation.
La Liga was suspended on March 12 after Real Madrid went into quarantine on the same day following the positive test for coronavirus of one of the sporting club’s basketball players.
Messi’s Barcelona has a slender two-point lead over arch-rival Real with 11 rounds of fixtures remaining and reacted to the news with a tweet of its talisman.
The lifting of restrictions was welcomed by the league president Javier Tebas, who has gone on record as stating a return to action on Friday June 12 would be the likely option for the teams.
“We are very happy for the decision, it is the result of the great work of clubs, players, technicians…CSD (National Sports Council) and agents involved,” he posted on Twitter.
“But we cannot lower our guard, it is important to follow health regulations and ensure the pandemic doesn’t come back.”
Matches behind closed doors
With time limited, and with the top sides also having Champions League and Europa League commitments, it will mean teams playing both midweek and at weekends.
All the matches will be behind closed doors and players will also undergo tests for coronavirus the day before games and will have their temperatures taken before being allowed to enter stadiums.
Earlier this week, La Liga teams were able to expand into groups of up to 10 players in training sessions, having begun working individually at training grounds since May 4.
Germany’s Bundesliga was the first of the major European leagues to restart last weekend, with the English Premier League and Italy’s Serie A set to resume at later dates.
All are facing financial pressures to begin competition again, with Tebas having said that the cancellation of the Spanish season would have cost its clubs around a billion dollars in lost revenues.
Spain’s second-flight Segunda Division has also been given the go-ahead to resume. Five unnamed players across the top two divisions tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month although they were asymptomatic and in the final phase of the disease.
Bayern hits five
Meanwhile in Bundesliga action Saturday, leader Bayern Munich stayed four points clear of Borussia Dortmund with a 5-2 thumping of Eintracht Frankfurt in the Allianz Arena.
Bayern was cruising with a 3-0 lead at halftime after goals from Leon Goretzka, the league’s top-scorer Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller but after the break Frankfurt defender Martin Hinteregger grabbed two quick goals in reply for the visitor.
Speedy Bayern defender Alphonso Davies snuffed out the comeback with a fourth for the home side with Hinteregger completing his ‘hat-trick’ with an unfortunate own goal to complete the scoring.
Goals by Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi earlier sealed a 2-0 away win for Dortmund at Wolfsburg.
Dortmund hosts Bayern in a top-of-the table ‘Der Klassiker’ clash Tuesday.