LALIGA

Coronavirus: Football, last on the government's agenda in Spain's state of emergency plan

Lockdown measures will gradually be lifted and stadiums will remain closed to the public until risk of infection is negligible which could be several months.

Coronavirus: Football, last on the government's agenda in Spain's state of emergency plan
AIOL DIARIO AS

Once there is light at the end of the tunnel in the coronavirus crisis which has swamped Spain's health services, lockdown measures - including self-isolation will be progressively lifted. That however, is still a long way off. The government declared that the country was in a state of emergency on 13 March and Spain was placed in quarantine for two weeks from the following day. That lockdown was extended to 11 April and last weekend, and tightened at the weekend, when all non-essential work was ordered to be temporarily frozen until 9 April. The measures could be extended again until after Easter as Spain's death toll hit a new, daily high today with 950 fatalities to take the overall number of deaths to over 10,000

Resuming football is not on the Spanish government's list of priorities

Government sources have told AS that as things stand, football will be the last activity to be dealt with in their strategy to get the country back on its feet and back to work once the crisis is over. Stadiums will remain closed to the public until it can be guaranteed that Spain is not at risk of suffering a second wave of the Covid-19 virus. When football eventually returns, matches will be played behind closed doors or several months. The same measures will apply to all venues where large numbers gather for sporting events, concerts, theatre... etc until the pandemic is under control.  

On Wednesday, UEFA unveiled a plan to ensure that Europe's major leagues are concluded by the end of the summer. The decision to resume league competition however, depends not on UEFA, but on the elected governments in those countries, who must approve when competition returns. "Football can be resumed once the pandemic is under control, but with games taking place behind closed doors. We will not run the risk of instigating a second wave of infection just for the sake of filling a stadium with people without being absolutely sure that not one single person gets infected. Stadiums and sports arenas cannot be open to the public while there is a risk of large-scale infection and the point where that can be guaranteed is months away," government sources told AS.

No one is looking too far ahead at this stage of the game. "We do not even have a date when when quarantine will be lifted," authorities added. Football stadiums and other sports venues will remain closed to the public until the autumn at least. That implies that losses will be made - over and beyond those expected should the 11 remaining LaLiga games be concluded as well as this year's Copa del Rey final between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad for which a date still must be found. RFEF president Luis Rubiales recently said that he wants the Copa final to be played in front of public but after the way the coronavirus crisis has escalated in Spain, that is looking increasingly unlikely.