The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced players will be able to return to individual training on 4 May, representing the first step towards a potential resumption of the season.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, Spain has been in lockdown for several weeks as the government looks to continue lowering the rate of infection. As for Spanish football, there has been no action since near the beginning of March.
Initially, there was hope La Liga would be able to return in time to complete the season before the summer, but it was announced towards the end of March that no play would resume until it was safe and appropriate to do so.
? Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced plans for players to return to training.
????????? From May 4th, players will be able to return to individual training at the clubs.
It is the first step in the potential resumption of LaLiga.#LLL
— La Liga Lowdown ????? (@LaLigaLowdown) April 28, 2020
However, Sanchez has now provided an update on when – if it all – the 2019/20 season will be able to resume. Speaking in his daily news conference (via Sky Sports) on Tuesday, he explained that professional athletes will be able to return to individual training on 4 May. This is considered to be ‘Phase Zero’ – or the preparatory phase.
Phase One is expected to get underway on 11 May, and this will see the reopening of high performance training centres, while small training sessions will also be allowed. However, the government are very wary of the possibility of a second peak and, as a result, ‘added measures’ will remain in place to minimise the risk.
It is further noted that La Liga has already contacted all clubs within the top flight and has sent them a set of protocols they must follow once training is able to resume. This covers the preparatory phase, individual training, small group sessions as well as full squad sessions.
The Guardian further report that Phase Two would ‘authorise’ open air activities, but fewer than 400 people will be allowed to attend. This is considered to be ‘just above’ the numbers La Liga consider to be necessary in order for the competition to restart.
It is also noted that the Spanish government hope to return to some kind of normality by the end of June. The Evening Standard, meanwhile, report that only ‘small groups’ will be allowed to train together initially, but a group of eight players will then be allowed the following week. And the final phase will see the return of competitive football behind closed doors, which is ‘pencilled in’ for either 5 June or 22 June.
This will come as a boost for those keen to see La Liga action return, but medics are said to be concerned with potentially rushing back to action too soon. This news comes after the French prime minister announced on Tuesday that the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 2019/20 seasons would not finish.