Saturday, July 11, 2020

The main leagues in Europe, pending a competitive return to Germany

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The Bundesliga restarts this Saturday after 66 days of interruption, and will do so with a day full of incentives. The main thing is that it will be the first major league to return to activity, which has put it in the spotlight across Europe. “We know we will have all our eyes on us, because we were the first to come back. I hope everything works as planned,” said Manuel Neuer, Bayern goalkeeper. The leading Bavarian team will not play until Sunday, and will close the day against Union Berlin. Saturday’s highlight will be the Ruhr Basin derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04. “It will be the strangest derby in history,” admitted Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl.

The case of Germany will serve as a precedent for the other leagues, which are looking for examples to draw the final straight of their protocols. The Bundesliga teams have only been training in groups for ten days and have spent the last week concentrating on armored hotels for the rest of the citizens. The German league has accepted the five changes proposed by FIFA as a measure that should help prevent injuries.

But what is the situation in other countries?

The League, pending the next phases

This is being the first full week of training for Spanish professional teams. After completing all the medical tests last week, all clubs have been practicing since Monday, still waiting to receive new instructions from the League to see when and how they can start training in small groups. The other big decision that the League will have to make imminently – possibly tomorrow Friday – is whether a small concentration will be necessary before playing or not, as has been done in Germany.

Premier League clubs are asking for more time

It remains unclear when football will return to England. The British government has “opened the door” to the return of the Premier, as long as it can be done safely. The initial plans for the English league were that next Monday, May 18, the teams would start training in groups, to start the competition on June 12, but all indications are that the forecast will have to be delayed. . Players and clubs, meeting by video conference with league officials, have gone to great lengths to gain more leeway and ask to have at least four weeks of training before playing again. That could mean the Premier won’t start until June 19th.

Serie A will conduct inspections to comply with the protocols

In Italy, the best forecasts speak of a return on June 13, a proposal that Serie A transferred to the Italian government on Wednesday, although the Minister of Sports, Vincenzo Spadafora, asks for more time before making a decision. Today, however, the president of the Italian National Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malagó, has considered that there is “a 99% chance” that Serie A will start in mid-June. In this line of advancing on the most optimistic plans, the Italian Football Federation has announced that, together with the federal prosecutor’s office, it will begin an inspection period to verify that “the indications contained in the health protocols are being respected.” As long as everything works properly, they will continue their group training and move forward to resume Serie A. The Italian league still has a dozen days to play, and recently the Federation agreed that the deadline for the season could last until August 2nd.

France, thinking of the Champions

The French Ligue 1 was canceled in full confinement, and this has already generated reactions from the two clubs that are affected by their participation in the Champions League, Lyon and PSG. “The match against Juventus is scheduled for August 7 in Turin behind closed doors. If nothing changes, Lyon and PSG can be massacred by their rivals because they will have a preparation that we will not have,” lamented Jean Michel Aulas, president of Lyon. Aulas complains about the “premature and not entirely legal decision” to cancel the French championship against the will of UEFA, and is now looking for the best option to prepare his team to compete in the big European competition.

He does not pursue the complaint in the Netherlands

Along with Belgium, the Dutch league was one of the first to determine that the season was null and void and that the Eredivisie would not resume. The decision implied that there was neither champion, nor relegations nor ascents. This sparked the complaint of the two Second Division leaders, Cambuur and De Graafschap, who aspired to move up, but this Thursday a Utrecht court has ruled in favor of the Dutch Football Federation and maintains the suspension of promotions.

Football with the public

In the Faroe Islands, an archipelago of 51,000 inhabitants, the league was resumed a week ago and now the next step is to open the door of the stadiums to the public. The government’s intention is for a certain number of spectators to be able to access the Betrideildin (local league name) matches, “to minimize the risk of infection.” The measure is part of the plans for phase 3 of the country’s escalation, which reduces the interpersonal safety distance from two meters to one meter and even allows meetings of one hundred people. Interest in following one of the few active leagues in Europe has attracted football from the Faroe Islands to neighboring countries, and Norway, Denmark and Sweden have bought the rights to broadcast the matches.

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