A spectator looks through the locked gates of a stadium in Cleveland, USA. Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak
A spectator looks through the locked gates of a stadium in Cleveland, USA. Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Latest sport news during covid-19: Spanish soccer players return to training

By By The Associated Press Time of article published May 6, 2020

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The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

Soccer in Spain

Soccer players in Spain are going back to their team’s training camps for the first time since the country entered a lockdown nearly two months ago because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Players for Barcelona, Real Madrid and other clubs arrived for medical tests and to start preparing for the return to training this week.

The majority did not wear masks or gloves. Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez were among those without masks when they drove into Barcelona’s training center. Antoine Griezmann, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic had masks on.

Real Madrid players Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema arrived without masks like most of their teammates.

The training centers of all clubs were disinfected in the last couple of days. All players and members of the coaching staff are going to be tested for COVID-19 before training can resume.

Players will initially train individually. The league wants a training period of about a month before it can restart in empty stadiums. It hopes to resume sometime in June.

Lionel Messi and other FC Barcelona players reported to Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper for COVID-19 tests. Photo: Reuters

Soccer - PSG

Paris Saint-Germain has donated 100,000 euros ($108,000) to the Action Against Hunger charity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The money provides charity workers helping those at risk with protective equipment such as surgical masks, goggles, gloves, gowns, gels and thermometers.

The Parc des Princes has been operating as a support base for the charity in the Greater Paris region.

PSG says club volunteers have helped charity staff “make, assemble and store hygiene kits and health equipment for those most at risk.” More than 2,000 people have benefited from hygiene and household kits.

PSG president Nasser al-Khelaïfi says the charity’s “wide-ranging work in many fields is more essential than ever.”

Soccer - Premier League

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow says Premier League clubs have yet to settle on protocols to ensure a safe return to playing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The league is trying to find a way to resume in June but group practice sessions have not yet started.

Purslow tells talkSPORT radio that “we haven’t got to the crucial protocols that relate to actually playing football. Until we crack the code of making our great contact sports safe then the conversation we’re having is hypothetical.”

Aston Villa has joined Brighton and West Ham in expressing public opposition to the current “Project Restart” plan that would see all remaining games played at neutral stadiums.

Purslow says “we have six home games left to play so any Villa fan would agree that giving up that advantage is a massive decision for somebody running Aston Villa and I certainly wouldn’t agree to that unless the circumstances are right.”

Villa is in next-from-last place in the Premier League and two points from safety with 10 games remaining.

German soccer

German soccer could be cleared to resume when Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with the governors of the country’s 16 states.

The DPA news agency reports that May 15 and 21 are being considered by the federal government as start dates for the Bundesliga.

The league has introduced blanket coronavirus testing at clubs and is eager to finish the season by the end of June. That is when some player contracts expire.

The push to resume has faced a backlash. There have been at least 11 positive tests of players and staff since testing began last week and Hertha Berlin forward Salomon Kalou was suspended after posting a video showing social distancing measures being flouted at the club.

Associated Press (AP)

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