La Liga first and second division players were allowed to carry out individual work at training grounds from Friday, with La Liga itself hoping to restart again in late June – almost certainly behind closed doors.
La Liga’s training plan is for players to initially carry out individual work before getting together in small groups and then finally taking part in larger team sessions.
Barça players started their first session on Friday, whilst players at Real Madrid will return on Monday.
The plan of a staggered training programme with the purpose of restarting competitive games by late June runs parallel to the Spanish government’s four phase de-escalation plan to return the country to a ‘new normality’ over an 8-week period.
Part of the Spanish football league’s plan requires identifying Coronavirus-infected players through testing – and five players from the top two leagues have already tested positive, La Liga confirmed on Sunday.
The five players have not been officially named. They are now quarantined at home and will be tested again ‘in the next few days’. They will be allowed to rejoin their club’s training after obtaining two consecutive negative test results.
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La Liga stated that, ‘Among La Liga Santander and La Liga SmartBank (second division) clubs, five positive cases were detected in players, all of them asymptomatic and in the final phase of the disease.’
‘One of the objectives of these medical tests,’ La Liga’s statement read, ‘according to the La Liga’s protocol for returning to training, according to recommendations of the CSD (Supreme Sports Council) and the Ministry of Health, was precisely to detect the denominated or asymptomatic, that is, those people who are infected and that, without presenting symptoms, they can infect other people. In this way, we guarantee everyone’s safety when returning to work according to the occupational risk regulations.’
The health protocol for the players returning to training is strict and includes them arriving already changed and at specific times to avoid contact with others. They have their temperatures taken before entering the premises and at the end of training, they take away a bag of fresh kit for the next day and shower at home.
If La Liga kicks off again on Saturday 20 June, which has been touted as the possible date, it could be expected to finish on Sunday 26 July. It is almost certain that all games will be played in front of empty stands.
La Liga president Javier Tebas is keen to get football up and running again, but has insisted that ‘people’s health is paramount’.
As La Liga currently stands, Real Madrid are in second place behind Barça, with 11 rounds of games remaining. With Real Madrid planning to restart individual training on Monday, captain Sergio Ramos said he ‘can’t wait to get playing and competing … as long as there is no risk of contagion’.
The third and fourth leagues in Spain will not complete their seasons, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Wednesday.
In Germany the Bundesliga is restarting on Saturday 16 May and it is scheduled to run through to Saturday 27 June.