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La Liga must resume before the end of June to be viable, say clubs

File photo of Javier Tebas.
File photo of Javier Tebas. / SUR
  • Finishing the current season is a priority but a 27 June restart is considered the cut-off point

With the sporting world in complete paralysis, the unanimous priority of the professional football clubs in Spain is to finish the current season. However, with all decisions pending the development of the coronavirus pandemic and La Liga chief Javier Tebas' idea of a May restart looking increasingly unlikely, clubs are being forced to reconsider their stance.

If the lockdown in Spain continues beyond the current end date set for the end of next week, delaying the season into the period earmarked for the start of next season could have even more long-term repercussions.

In a video meeting of representatives from all of the clubs in the top two divisions, it was provisionally agreed that 27 June was the latest possible date to restart the current season - a proposal put forward by Getafe president Ángel Torres. This would mean playing two games a week, through the summer, until at least the start of August.

In order to regain fitness, the players would also have to have undergone a mini pre-season of at least two weeks beforehand.

The biggest problem with this, however, would be resolving the question over players whose contracts are set to expire on 30 June. "If we need to extend the contracts, all of the clubs will be in the same position. But for now we don't have a solution for this," said Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation.

Finish at all cost

Tebas, for his part, however, has insisted that the season will end no matter what. There has even been a suggestion that it could restart in September, which would mean significant alterations to next season and could lead to changes in formats.

From a financial viewpoint, the motive is clear. If the games can't be played, La Liga is set to lose out on around 700 million euros - 500 million of which would be from unpaid broadcasting rights.

"We are going to finish the season, we are working on the deadlines," he said. "There are several possible dates for a restart: in April, May... We can't rule out that it will be even later."

Amid all this uncertainty, one thing can be said with almost total certainty: any games played in the coming month will be almost inevitably behind closed doors.

The competitive pace will also be frenetic (much quicker than usual especially for those teams without European commitments), as all these matches would have to be crammed together in the space of a few weeks. They would also have to be made compatible with the remaining Champions League and Europa League fixtures.