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Portuguese, Spanish clubs resume training

May 05, 2020 00:20 IST
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Portuguese clubs resume training after coronavirus stoppage


IMAGE: General view inside the stadium before the match. Photograph: Pedro Nune/Reuters

Portugal’s top flight football clubs, including Porto and Benfica, resumed training on Monday for the first time since the coronavirus stoppage amid plans to restart the top league on May 30.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday that training could re-start as he announced plans to relax the coronavirus lockdown. Portugal has been spared the huge death tolls in neighbouring Spain and some other Western European countries.


The Primeira Liga has been on hold since March 12.

Porto said that the players underwent medical tests and were then divided into three groups for practice to conform with social distancing guidelines.

Benfica coach Bruno Lage said that the situation was “unprecedented for coaches and footballers”.

“We will try to find the best solutions and the best way of staying connected, even when we are a distance apart,” he said, referring to the social distancing measures.

“We’ve been waiting for this to happen for a long time; to return to Seixal (Benfica’s training group), return to the grass, and prepare for the rest of the 2019/20 season,” he told the club’s website.

“We know that, for the worst possible reasons, the situation is far from ideal.”

Portuguese media said that most of the 18 top flight teams are back in training.

Porto have a one-point lead over bitter rivals Benfica with 10 rounds of matches to play.

La Liga training to resume this week with season restart in June

Spanish soccer began the path back towards normality on Monday as organisers said clubs would resume training this week for the first time since activity was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic and targeted resuming the season in June.

Organising body La Liga said clubs in the top two divisions would return to individual training following a protocol it had agreed with Spain’s sports and health authorities and which guaranteed the safety of players and staff.

The protocol obliges players to undergo testing for the novel coronavirus before they can return to training facilities.

“These measures cover a period of approximately four weeks with different phases that, in any case, will be subject to the de-escalation process established by the government,” said the statement.

“Thus, together with the medical tests carried out by clubs, a staggered return to training has been implemented that will start with players training alone and with group activities prior to the return to competition, scheduled for June.”

La Liga president Javier Tebas said the season would bring back a sense of normality to Spain, which has lost over 25,000 lives to the virus and seen its economy paralysed.

“This crisis has had a profound impact on all of us. The return of football is a sign that society is progressing towards the new normal. It will also bring back an element of life that people in Spain and around the world know and love,” he said.

“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. Circumstances are unprecedented but we hope to start playing again in June and finish our season this summer.”

While France’s Ligue 1 was declared finished last week and the Dutch top-flight was also ended, the major stakeholders in Spain have remained determined to complete the season in order to avoid potential losses of around one billion euros (878 million pounds).

Tebas has been particularly bullish about restarting the campaign and criticised the cancellation of the French season, which was the first of Europe’s five major leagues to fall victim to the crisis.

Spanish soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales, who has had some high-profile clashes with Tebas in the past, has also remained committed to getting the season back on the road, as has Spain’s minister for sport Irene Lozano.

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