The State Of Play Around Europe: When Are Football Leagues Returning to Action
The effect of the coronavirus on football around Europe has continued, but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, with some of the biggest competitions setting dates for when action will resume. But, there have also been some other divisions that have joined Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie in ending their seasons already.
- Germany’s Bundesliga Cleared To Return On The 16th May
- La Liga: Action In Spain Could Be Set To Resume ‘Soon’ According To The Government
It was announced on the 18th May that the Scottish Premiership would be ended, with Celtic crowned champions for a ninth consecutive year. However, the decision has already been struck with clubs threatening legal action, with Hearts relegated due to the decision. The SPFL decided to end the season using points per game to work out the final standings. Celtic finished 13 points clear of second-placed Rangers, while Motherwell and Aberdeen finished in third and fourth respectively. Hearts were relegated for the second time since 2013 as the PPG left them four points away from Hamilton.
Football finally returned in Europe on the 16th May, with all games playing behind closed doors and strict safety measures put in place. Fans have been delighted to see the return to action in Germany, with much still to be decided at both ends of the table. The Bundesliga season is due to be completed by the end of June, with the final round of fixtures taking place on the 27th.
Plans for the Premier League to restart have been stepped up over recent weeks, with clubs returning to training. However, sessions will take place in small groups, with players still expected to follow the social distancing measures in place. Testing has also been going on throughout the week, with two positive tests found in the latest round. However, the Premier League are set to begin phase two of their operation this week, as training will begin to step up. A date on the resumption of the league is yet to be decided, with some clubs hopeful that the Premier League could resume on the 26th June.
La Liga is the closest league in Europe to a restart, as a date could finally be set later this week. There is an expectancy that the first game to be played in La Liga since the break could be between Sevilla and Real Betis on the 11th June. Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries with a reported 28,752 death recorded. The resumption of play will come three months after play was suspended.
Italy’s sports minister has put forward two possible dates that Serie A action could resume. Vincenzo Spadafora has admitted that either the 13th or 20th June could be when we see top-flight action in Italy return to our screens. A final decision on the date that action will resume in Italy is likely to be announced on Thursday. It is believed that the protocols that have been used for training are likely to be in operation to ensure match days run smoothly.
Portugal will be the next country to see football resume, as it has been revealed that action will begin on 4th June. Like all countries, the matches will be taking place behind closed doors. Play in Portugal had been suspended since the 12th March, but the green light was given by PM Antonio Costa last month. Porto leads the division at present, but Benfica will be hoping to overtake their rivals with ten games still remaining.