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Coronavirus: Spanish football league to resume on June 8th

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Saturday that La Liga can resume from its coronavirus lockdown on the week of June 8.

Coronavirus: Spanish football league to resume on June 8th
Barcelona player Lionel Messi. Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP

“The resumption of major professional sporting competitions and in particular La Liga will be allowed from the week of June 8,” Sanchez told a press conference.

More than two months after the COVID-19 pandemic halted the season in Spain, players have begun training in small groups as they aim to be as ready as possible for the planned reboot next month.

BREAKING: Spain to reopen to foreign tourists from July

La Liga president Javier Tebas has said the preferred date for games to resume is Friday, June 12 and Sanchez's announcement means that plan has been given the green light from the government.

Clubs have 11 games left to play to finish the season, with the proposed final round to be completed by the end of July.

A compressed calendar would mean teams playing matches both in midweek and at weekends while fixtures will be held behind closed doors, with only 197 people allowed to attend, according to a protocol prepared by La Liga.

Players will also undergo tests for coronavirus the day before games and will have their temperatures taken before being allowed to enter stadiums.

La Liga's staggered training programme meant players began working individually at training grounds on May 4 and were able to expand into groups of up to 10 players this week.

The top flight was first suspended on March 12 after Real Madrid went into quarantine on the same day following the positive test of one of the club's basketball players.

But Tebas has been adamant the league must restart, having estimated that a cancellation of the season would cost clubs around one billion euros ($1.09 billion).

France's Ligue 1 has been cut short, with Paris Saint-Germain declared champions, while the Bundesliga in Germany became the first major European league to resume behind closed doors last weekend.

Tebas has said the chance is low of players infecting each other during games.

“In the match environment, infection is practically impossible because we have carried out a study that we will present that shows the smallest risk is in matches if everyone respects the medical protocol,” Tebas said earlier this month.

“If things are done as they should be, there shouldn't be any infections. If five infections appear in one club, it would suggest some negligence.”

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SPORT

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

Spain have been thrown out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup for fielding an ineligible South African-born player during the qualifying stages and will be replaced by Romania, World Rugby announced on Thursday.

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

“Subject to Spain’s right of appeal, the 10-point deduction applied to the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification table means that Romania will qualify as Europe 2 into Pool B replacing Spain,” read the statement.

Portugal — who Spain beat to seal their place in the global showpiece in France next year — replace Romania in the Final Qualification Tournament taking place in November 2022.

“Spain has a right of appeal within 14 days of the date of the full written decision of the committee,” read the statement.

According to Spanish media in March, the player under investigation was South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg, who has been playing in Spain since 2018.

He played twice against the Netherlands, in 2020 and 2021, in qualifiers, but he may not seemingly have served the three years of residency needed to become eligible under World Rugby rules.

Spain, Romania and Belgium were all sanctioned in 2018 for having fielded ineligible players, opening the way for Russia to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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