Football in Portugal gets 4 June restart date after coronavirus lockdown
Football bosses in Portugal have targeted 4 June for the resumption of the Primeira Liga season. The championship was suspended on 12 March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Porto were top of the 18-team top flight, one point ahead of Benfica when play was halted.
Even though Portugal has been relatively unscathed by the coronavirus with just over 1,100 deaths, when the action restarts, players will have to take coronavirus tests twice a week.
Games will be played without fans and only in a selected number of stadiums.
League organisers said on Wednesday they are finalising which grounds will be used for the 10 remaining rounds of matches.
"We wish to guarantee stadiums are rigorously inspected and the professionals are tested," a Primeira Liga statement said.
The league's announcement comes a day after Benfica said that their 21-year-old midfielder David Tavares had tested positive for Covid-19.
The Lisbon-based outfit said that Tavares was asymptomatic and in quarantine. Four positive tests have emerged from players at Vitoria Guimaraes and Moreirense.
On Saturday the Bundesliga in Germany is set to become the first major European league to relaunch after the lockdown.
Bayern Munich, seeking a record-extending 30th title, led the pack by four points with nine games remaining
League authorities in the Netherlands and France have ended their seasons though.
In the Netherlands, the title was not awarded while in France, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) declared Paris Saint-Germain the champions and also allocated places for next season’s European competitions.
The LFP also decided to relegate Amiens and Toulouse from Ligue 1 and promote Lorient and Lens from Ligue 2. Amiens said on Tuesday they will take legal action to challenge the LFP’s ruling.
Premier League concerns
In England, the Premier League has been cleared to start from 1 June but only behind closed doors. Clubs are thrashing out safety protocols for grounds in Britain where the disease has claimed more than 32,000 lives
The Professional Footballers’ Association, the players’ union, is also expected to voice its concerns. “We are just people too," said Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell on social media last weekend after three Brighton players tested positive for coronavirus.
If play does restart, the intrigue for the last nine games in England will centre on the drop zone where six teams are battling to avoid the three relegation berths.
At the other end, Liverpool are preening themselves to hoist their first championship in 30 years. Jurgen Klopp’s men were 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City.
In Austria, the Bundesliga - suspended since mid-March - has been given the green light to go ahead from June. With 10 games left, LASK led RB Salzburg by three points.
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