Football

La Liga could restart with Seville Derby on June 11

La Liga president Javier Tebas has said he hopes the derby between Real Betis and Sevilla will kick the Spanish top-flight season back into action on June 11, after being paused for three months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"There is a possibility that there is a game on June 11, which would be the only match that night and perhaps there will be a tribute to all the people who have died (from the virus)," Tebas told Spanish television network Movistar last Sunday.

"I hope that date can be confirmed and we would like the game to be the Seville Derby, kicking off at 10pm."

However, Sevilla players Lucas Ocampos, Luuk de Jong, Franco Vazquez and Ever Banega have landed themselves in trouble after Banega's wife posted a photo of the group with their partners and friends on Instagram.

The photo featured 12 people, in contravention of the rule which restricts meetings to a maximum of 10 people.

The four players have since apologised on social media.

Spain is set to join Germany and Portugal in resuming matches without spectators after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last Saturday that the league would be allowed to start again from June, along with other sectors of the economy.

All organised football in Spain was suspended indefinitely on March 12. Spain is among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, with over 280,000 infections and more than 28,700 deaths.

All non-professional leagues have been cancelled, although clubs in the top two divisions have resumed training in groups of up to 10 players.

Tebas said the next objective was to progress to full training.

He said: "Right now, that's our main goal, and if we can achieve that, then we can start to bring forward the return of the competition. Our aim is to be able to announce the first four rounds of fixtures next week."

"The government's announcement took us by surprise but it shows that professional football is very important to this country."

Champions Barcelona lead La Liga by two points over nearest challengers Real Madrid, with 11 matches remaining. - REUTERS

Football