La Liga has confirmed that Spain’s footballers will go back to training this week, the first step in a month-long process towards a return to competition. The hope is that First and Second Division games can begin in mid-June. It is not yet clear how competition in the third tier down will be resolved, with a proposal currently in place to play only a set of accelerated play-offs involving the top four rather than any regular season games.
Training grounds will be prepared, disinfected and inspected over the next two days — a process which is already under way — and players will undergo Covid-19 antibody tests before returning.
In the first phase players will work alone, arriving at the facilities already in their kit. There will be no contact with coaching staff or each other. Small group sessions of not more than six players together will begin in the following phase. In the final phase, clubs will eventually be allowed to carry out sessions in which no more than 14 players can participate. In total, the league anticipates that there will be a month of preparation before competition gets under way. In the first phase players will return home daily, but in the final two training stages and after the return to competition clubs will adopt a training camp structure.
The move follows discussions and agreement with the health authorities and the minister for sport and is in line with the government’s own four-phase plan to relax the state of emergency imposed on 12 March as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Each phase will need to be authorised by the government and depends on the figures relating to the illness continuing on a downward trend.
“The return of football is a sign that society is progressing to a new normality,” said the president of the league Javier Tebas. “It will bring back a part of life that people in Spain and around the world love.”