LaLiga announces coronavirus-related rules for 2020-21 season

LaLiga and the Spanish FA have outlined a series of measure for games that could affected by the coronavirus crisis.

LaLiga announces coronavirus-related rules for 2020-21 season
Ballesteros EFE

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga (LNFP) have set out rules related to the potential consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in the upcoming 2020-21 season, which kicks off next weekend, 12-13 September.

Both institutions have sent issued the same press release announcing that "these measures are intended to introduce a safeguard to modify the competition rules in the event that the circumstances arising from the pandemic so require".

Specifically, rules are set "to define the alternative stadiums of each team for cases in which the matches could not be played in their own stadiums." In this case, the clubs will have until before the second match day of the 2020-21 season begins (September 18) to communicate their choice of alternative venues, which must be outside of their own autonomous communities.

RFEF-LaLiga coronavirus rules (press release statements in bold)

- "Rules relating to the minimum number of authorized players in the first team and in the team as a whole are modified so as allow the matches to be played.”

As AS has learned, the teams must have at least seven players from the first team throughout the game, with the exception of force majeure reasons caused by Covid-19, which are specified in the new regulations. If this minimum number cannot be reached, the referee will suspend the match and the Competition authorities will decide what to do about the game.

- "The criteria for the postponement of the matches and the competitive consequences are set in the event that they cannot be played."

If the teams cannot make up a 13-man squad of players between first team and reserve players due to the virus, if they cannot travel  due to health authority restrictions, or if they have to close their facilities, the match will be postponed and a new date agreed, as long as the team in question has not previously postponed another match. In the Primera Division, each team may postpone one match. In the Segunda Division, the limit is set at two games.

That re-organized fixture can be played with five players from the first team. A match cannot be postponed during the final eight match days of the season. If a match cannot be postponed and rearranged, for whatever reason, the team that can present itself for the game will be deemed the 3-0 winner, as El Mundo announced this week. If neither of the two teams can appear, it will be considered a loss for both sides.

- "An alternative playoff model has been agreed if the established two-game format cannot completed.” There would be a final four with two semi-finals and a final, all of which would be single-game ties. 

- “The possibility of substituting the members of the coaching staff will be allowed" and the required time limit that teams have to arrive at the stadium has been shortened.

The statement ends as follows: "Despite there being some differences of opinion between the RFEF and the LNFP in some specific aspects, both parties understand that at this time an agreement that facilitates the start of the competition is essential.”