South Korea’s professional footballers will be the first to return to competitive play after halting their leagues, joining those in Burundi, Belarus Tajikistan and Nicaragua, where league football carried on amid the pandemic. On Wednesday, the German government gave the Bundesliga the go-ahead to finish their league season. They are one of many gearing up to go on with business as usual.
With nine match days remaining, Bayern Munich is atop the table and four points clear of Borussia Dortmund. Without any fans present, James’ ex-squad will play an away game against Union Berlin on May 17.
Because public gatherings are forbidden in Germany until August 31st, Borussia Mönchengladbach has ingeniously started filling its stands with cardboard cutouts of fans. 4,500 are already in their seats and there are another 12 thousand on the way.
Despite having the most reported cases of COVID-19 in Europe to date, Spain’s La Liga has announced it is tentatively looking to return to play in June.
Javier Tebas, the league’s president, said the return of professional football is “a signal that society is progressing to a new normal” and that it returns an “element that people in Spain and the whole world know and love.”
According to a protocol obtained by the Associated Press, the league is looking to return to training in four phases before starting competitive play, without fans in the stands, after a full month of training.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and the rest of FC Barcelona will return to training on Friday, albeit in individual sessions only, the team announced on Twitter. The Catalan squad arrived, mostly wearing masks, at their training site on Tuesday for preliminary tests mandated by the league. All other teams did the same, except for SD Eibar who expressed misgivings about returning to practice.
Fali, who plays for Spanish second division leaders Cádiz also refused to show for testing.
“I was the first person to say that I will not earn a wage in this period and if even one Euro enters my account I’ll give it back,” the central defender said.
The Spanish Women’s league, by contrast, has been suspended and Barcelona, which has not lost a domestic tie in a year, declared champions.
In Italy, Juventus’ Paulo Dybala is now free of the virus. He and his girlfriend tested positive in late March.
Meanwhile, the UK’s Premier League began talks of returning as well. Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has said he is still scared to play.