Spain’s La Liga Set To Resume With Games Played On Short Rest
The clamoring to resume play is now more robust than ever as sports leagues around the world aim to resume their respective seasons. After the announcement that Germany’s top soccer league, the Bundesliga, will return to the pitch on May 16, Spain is eager to follow suit.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has a plan for the resumption of competitive soccer in Spain. “I’d like the restart date to be June 12, but we have to be careful; it will depend on society as a whole,” Tebas said.
Players and staff of Spain’s top two tiers of soccer have now returned to training while following health restrictions encouraged by government health officials. The league’s collective ability to properly respect those restrictions is what will allow for La Liga’s restart, according to Tebas.
“The risk during games will be zero, or practically zero,” Tebas said. “What I ask now is the upmost focus on adhering to the health measures. If we stick to them, we’ll restart the competition with very few or no infections.”
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Before returning to training, players on all 42 teams across Spain’s top two soccer leagues underwent coronavirus testing. Five of those players tested positive, each of which was asymptomatic and in the final stages of the illness.
Players To Receive 72 Hours Rest Between Matches
As is the case in Germany, La Liga matches will be played behind closed doors. Yet the league is eager to maintain some level of competitive atmosphere while fans are disallowed to attend games, which is why the league and its broadcasting partners are testing ways to inject some form of fan presence into the viewing experience.
“As we won’t be able to have fans in the stadiums, we’re going to have some really interesting new ideas when it comes to football broadcasts,” Tebas said.
Yet the lack of atmosphere could be the least of La Liga’s issues once play resumes.
To allow for each of the 11 remaining matchdays of the season to be played by the end of July, teams will receive as little as 72 hours rest between matches. Such restraints place even more importance on the four-week training period leading up to the return of play.
While players are used to competing on 72 hours of rest, most notably during the winter holiday period in which games are packed into a tight schedule, it’s rare for such conditions to last for an extended period.
With injury concerns likely to alter team strategies, expect for player rotations within each squad to be more prevalent than usual.
While Tebas and the rest of La Liga are aiming for a June 12 resumption, that date is not yet official and can be changed.
Barcelona, Real Madrid Fighting for La Liga Title
Spanish football often comes down to its two famous clubs — Barcelona and Real Madrid — and this season has been no exception.
Barcelona currently sits atop the league standings with 58 points and a +32 goal difference. Real Madrid are just two points behind and own a +30 goal difference.
Nine points separate the top two contenders from third-place Sevilla FC, with the likes of Real Sociedad, Getafe, and Atletico Madrid battling for next year’s Champions League places.
Despite Barcelona’s two-point lead over their rivals, it’s Real Madrid who were the favorites to win the league at the time play was suspended. After defeating Barcelona in El Clasico at the beginning of March, Real Madrid’s -140 odds led Barcelona’s even odds.
With the return to play yet to become official, most sportsbooks are not yet offering futures on La Liga.