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La Liga given government green light to kick off again from 8 June

The last Real Madrid -Barcelona game before lockdown.
The last Real Madrid -Barcelona game before lockdown. / REUTERS
  • Spain's top two divisions can resume behind closed doors but must do so at a frenetic pace to conclude the remaining 11 match days before the end of July

Professional football in Spain is to get back up and running from the week of 8 June, prime minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Saturday. Sánchez said that the Ministry of Health had authorised La Liga to resume behind closed doors, after a break of nearly three months due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Spain's top two divisions, Primera and Segunda, will start from where they left off in March, and matches will have to take place daily, to fit in the eleven remaining match days of the season before the end of July.

Strict health protocol will be applied to prevent Covid-19 contagion during a time when the majority of Spain's provinces should be in the final phase of the government's lockdown easing plan. This will apply to "the most important sporting competitions" in Spain, said Sánchez, meaning that not only football can resume.

When the league restarts the players will have been training again for five weeks after seven weeks confined to their homes.

The first game in the top flight Primera division is likely to be the Sevilla-Real Betis derby on Friday 12 June. The first Segunda division game could be Rayo Vallecano-Albacete on 9 June (a match from 15 December which had to be abandoned at half time).

Collaborations

LaLiga chief Javier Tebas was quick to show his satisfaction at the outcome, calling it "the result of the great work of clubs, players, coaches, the National Sports Council (CSD) and everyone involved".

Tebas went on to stress: "It's very important to follow the health regulations and that the pandemic keeps progressing favourably. We can't afford to let our guard down."

This return to action comes as a result of the so-called 'Pactos de Viana' which were reached with the mediation of Irene Lozano, head of the CSD, which helped to navigate the hostilities between the president of the Spanish Football Federation (FEF), Luis Rubiales, and Tebas.

Matches every day

Tebas confirmed recently that he hoped that there would be matches every day of the week (now possible with the ban on matches on Mondays lifted) but with the high temperatures expected in June and July, games will have to start from 8pm onwards and provided that the pitch temperature doesn't exceed 32 degrees.

As has been the case in the German Bundesliga, the FEF and La Liga are also in favour of temporarily increasing the number of substitutes permitted from three to five per match and allowing at least one water break per half.

Furthermore, in order to comply with the strict sanitary measures, only one match per day will be analysed in each of the eight VAR control rooms which means that there will be a maximum of eight games played per day between Primera and Segunda.