International

League-by-league guide to the return of football around Europe

2020-05-23 18:09
Premier League trophy
Premier League trophy (Getty Images)

With the German Bundesliga on its second weekend back following the two-month coronavirus shutdown and La Liga given the green light by the Spanish government to return next month, AFP Sport casts a glance at the situation for football leagues across Europe:

Leagues restarting 

On Friday the Bundesliga started its second matchday since returning from its virus hiatus last week, with all matches going ahead behind closed doors.

It was not the first European league to return, however. That honour went to the Faroe Islands, which resumed its league a week earlier. Not forgetting Belarus, which was the only European country where football carried on throughout the last two months.

On Saturday Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said La Liga could return in the week of 8 June, meaning league chief Javier Tebas' desire to restart on 12 June should now become reality.

Here are confirmed restart dates elsewhere:

Czech Republic - 23 May

Denmark - 28 May

Serbia - 30 May 

Austria - 2 June 

Portugal - 4 June 

Slovenia - 5 June 

Croatia - 6 June 

Turkey - 12 June 

Norway - 16 June 

Russia - 21 June

Finland - 1 July 

Still awaiting green light 

England and Italy both remain hopeful of completing the season but ongoing concerns about the health crisis mean nothing is set in stone.

Six positive cases for coronavirus were detected at three English Premier League clubs, including Watford defender Adrian Mariappa, following tests of players and staff ahead of this week's return to socially-distanced training in small groups.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said on Friday that he is "as confident as we can be" that England's top flight will return in June.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said on Wednesday that it has pushed back the end date for the current season to 20 August, with matches not to be played before 14 June.

On Tuesday Serie A clubs were given the all clear by the Italian government to resume group training. However sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora says clubs will have to wait until Thursday to know if the season can resume.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he needs "more guarantees" before the green light could finally be given for football to resume.

Other hoped-for restart dates include:

Romania - 27 May 

Poland - 29 May 

Greece - 6 June 

Switzerland - 20 June 

Season over 

The Netherlands was the first European country to bring an early end to the season on 24 April as the Eredivisie was cancelled without a champion being crowned.

France then followed suit on 30 April, ending the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed.

The season was not voided, though, with Paris Saint-Germain confirmed as champions, European places dished out and relegation and promotion between the top two divisions maintained on a two-up, two-down basis.

Belgium has also ended its season, with Club Brugge champions, after the Belgian government announced it was suspending all sporting competitions until 31 July.

In Scotland the season had already been called early in the three divisions below the top flight and the Premiership followed suit on Monday, with Celtic being crowned champions for the ninth year running.

Luxembourg and Cyprus also called an end to their seasons but without naming a champion.

However in Cyprus European places were attributed with Omonia Nicosia entering the qualifying rounds of the next Champions League.

Read more on:    coronavirus  |  soccer

 

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