Coronavirus: La Liga chief eyes Sevilla-Real Betis derby on June 11 for restart
La Liga president Javier Tebas said he hopes the 2019-20 season can restart from the coronavirus pandemic on June 11, with the date to be officially confirmed in the next few days.
Tebas’ announcement comes after Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the return of competitive sport in the country starting June 8.
“It will be the weekend of June 12 for sure, or even Thursday, June 11,” Tebas told Movistar. “It isn’t decided yet, we have to hold the relevant meetings with the federation and the National Sports Council to discuss some outstanding issues. We have to see what happens with the phases so that full training with all players can take place as soon as possible. We have to be cautious. We’ll look at that first, and we’re working with broadcasters, too.”
Tebas confirmed that the first match to be played in Spain’s top tier will be between Sevilla and Real Betis.
“We could have the first game on Thursday [the] 11th in Seville. We’d like it to be the Seville Derby,” Tebas said. “If not, it would be June 12 or 13. But on June 11 at 10 p.m., that’s the idea. Once we’ve officially announced the first game, we’ll announce the first four matchdays. That should come early next week.”
The English Premier League has also identified June 12 as a possible date to return. Among Europe’s other major domestic leagues, the German Bundesliga has already returned to action, while France’s Ligue 1 has canceled its season, and Italy’s Serie A will decide on its path forward by Thursday.
In La Liga, 11 rounds of games need be played to finish the 2019-20 season, with matches every day so that the season can be completed before the end of July.
“Midweek games will kick off at 7.30 p.m. or 8 p.m., and 9.30 p.m. or 10 p.m.,” Tebas said when asked about playing in rising temperatures. “At the weekend, there will be three kick-off times — at 5 p.m., 7.30 p.m., and 9.30 p.m. or 10 p.m. That needs to be decided.”
Matches will be played behind closed doors and following a strict safety protocol, which has now been finalised.
Tebas said that clubs should be in a position to move from group sessions to full training starting June 1.
La Liga sent a letter to clubs Sunday reminding them of players’ responsibilities after four Sevilla players were pictured apparently breaking social distancing rules.
“In the last few hours we have seen that some players have broken health rules,” it said. “These attitudes are totally incomprehensible and inadmissible, as they put at risk the completion of the competition. Any sign of relaxation is a lack of respect towards La Liga and other clubs, players and coaches.”