Spanish soccer’s top flight division La Liga can return to action from June 8 after being disrupted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday.
All organised soccer in Spain was provisionally suspended on March 12 although clubs in the top two divisions have since returned to group training.
La Liga has yet to officially confirm a date on which it will resume, although president Javier Tebas had said previously he hoped the season could do so from June 12.
“Spain has done what it needed to do and now new horizons can open for everyone. The time has come to recover many of our daily activities. From June 8 La Liga will be able to return,” Sanchez said on Saturday.
“Spanish football has a huge following but it will not be the only recreation activity that will return.”
Spain is one of the countries worst-affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 28,000 deaths and more than 234,000 cases of infection diagnosed. But the daily death toll has been steadily declining, with only 56 deaths registered on Friday.
Spain has also begun to relax one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns, with the provinces of Madrid and Barcelona set to allow gatherings of up to 10 people from Monday as they move into the first phase of a de-escalation.
Germany’s Bundesliga returned to action last weekend and plans are ongoing for the Premier League to resume in June, dubbed Project Restart.
But Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has said the safety of players and staff must come first, after N’Golo Kante was granted compassionate leave to miss Chelsea training because of his health fears.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport this week, Kante had Lampard’s full consent to miss training this week because of his concerns over the safety of returning to action during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lampard said clubs must get through the first phase, in which players train in small socially-distanced groups, before taking the next decision on returning to competitive action behind closed doors.
“Safety has to come first. Once we get over phase one, see what phase two looks like and beyond that, then we can think about getting the games back, albeit behind closed doors.”