Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has given the green light for football to return in the week beginning 8 June, allowing La Liga to go ahead with plans to restart the first division with the Seville derby on 12 June. A formal announcement on the date of the return to competition will be made by the league’s president, Javier Tebas, in the next couple of days.
Sánchez made the announcement on Saturday when he said that the “worst has passed” and that Spain was now at “the end of the tunnel”, allowing for a further relaxing of the state of alarm, which was first declared on 14 March.
“The time has come to recover some of the activities that were suspended,” he said. “I want to inform you that, in agreement with the CSD [the sports council] and the ministry of health, the government has given the Spanish professional league the green light to return to playing.
“Spanish football has a massive following both within and beyond our borders, but it will not be the only activity we will get back. Museums, theatres, cinemas and other sporting activity will also slowly return.”
That decision was made according to the government’s protocol for the de-escalation of measures to combat coronavirus. With the R rate at 0.2 and the number of recoveries greater than the number of new cases, Sánchez is optimistic he majority of the country will have reached phase three of the de-escalation protocol by 8 June – a condition necessary for La Liga to meet its target of returning on 12 June.
La Liga had hoped to be able to play the second half of the Second Division game between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete, abandoned in December, on 9 June and then fully restart competition in the first and second divisions that weekend.
It is possible that it could be brought forward. Teams are already training in groups of 10 and there is optimism they will be allowed to move to full-squad sessions from Monday. The intention is to play games daily until the close of the competition on 31 July, ready for European matches to restart in August.