La Liga clubs are one step nearer to resuming the competition after Spain’s health ministry approved plans submitted, which will see teams undergo coronavirus tests as of Monday. The league is still aiming for a mid-June restart as the government of one of the world's hardest-hit countries outlines specific phases and protocols for a return to normalcy.
Joaquin Maroto of AS reported on Friday that the health department “maintains the structure and phases of the protocol presented by La Liga,” which could mean clubs return to training next week.
The Supreme Sports Council (CSD) informed representatives from La Liga, the Spanish football federation and the players' union (AFE) of plans to return as Spain prepares to ease social-distancing measures.
It’s expected players could return to the pitch around Thursday after a phase of COVID-19 tests are carried out in conjunction with the new protocols.
Alex Kirkland of ESPN FC specified club doctors will only be able to carry out tests “by prescription and if players have displayed symptoms or been exposed to other positive cases.”
The Athletic’s Dermot Corrigan suggested a longer shutdown of the sport would be the ideal scenario, though he mentioned many players are eager to return:
Spain’s top flight has been on hold since mid-March like Europe’s other major leagues. Barcelona boast a slim two-point lead over Real Madrid at the summit with 11 matches still to play.
The country has suffered a little more than 24,000 deaths due to the coronavirus as of Friday, making it the fourth-worst affected nation in Europe, per the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
Kirkland wrote La Liga is hoping to restart in mid-June, but clubs have been told to expect to be playing without fans present for the remainder of 2020.