The return of professional football seems to be drawing nearer, in spite of all the problems and controversies that continue to arise.
In the case of Malaga, as far as the club is concerned they are already prepared for the players to return and for training to recommence. However, the start date still remains unclear.
Malaga, like all clubs, must follow the strict protocol outlined by La Liga for the safe restart of league action. The first phase has been under way this past week with the disinfection of the facilities at both La Rosaleda stadium and the adjoining Annex, where all of the club’s work will be taking place during this period. A second specialised treatment took place on Monday ahead of an inspection carried out by La Liga match delegate Daniel Bendodo on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the controversial coronavirus testing took place. Players, coaches and other staff members underwent both PCR and antibody testing, though results can take up to 72 hours to come through.
Players and staff arrived one at a time throughout the day, disinfecting their hands on arrival at the stadium before following a marked-out route from one testing room to another, before undergoing a physical examination.
Between the two types of test (the former a nose swab and the latter a blood test), the aim is to have as much information as possible to guarantee safety, understanding if there is any possibility of contagion and also if any of those tested have the antibodies that could prevent them contracting the disease in the future.
Start of training
Testing is the fundamental element for La Liga’s plan to work. Once the results are known (and all being well) a very atypical type of preseason will get under way for Malaga with thoughts finally turning to the remaining eleven matches to be played in Segunda (behind closed doors).
The players will return after almost two months and it is expected that they will be in worse shape than when they typically return every year from the summer holidays. The greatest fear, however, is the risk of new injuries that may occur as a result of the long period of inactivity.
Individual sessions have been meticulously prepared for the players who will arrive at La Rosaleda in their vehicles, ready for work, every 15 minutes and leave straight after (without taking a shower). On Wednesday they were provided with all the kits and towels they require, along with instructions on how to clean them.
During the first phase they will train individually and only six players will be allowed on each pitch, so coach Sergio Pellicer will be able to oversee the work of twelve players at a time, between the main pitch and that of the Annex.
What is not yet clear is when this will begin. In principle, the key dates for determining this could be Friday or Monday once the test results have come back.
In any case, the return of professional football is closer than it has been for a while.