LaLiga lines up Seville derby for June return

Alex Moreno of Real Betis competes for the ball with Lucas Ocampos of Sevilla during the LaLiga match on November 10 (by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

LaLiga is planning the resumption of the top division of Spanish club football with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on June 11 after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the league would be allowed to restart from June 8, provided the country continues to keep Covid-19 in check.

Sánchez made his statement on Saturday, with Spain continuing its recovery efforts from the pandemic which has claimed the lives of nearly 27,000 of its citizens. LaLiga and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on March 23 announced that the suspension of domestic professional competitions would continue on an indefinite basis, with the top tier currently having 11 rounds of games remaining in its 2019-20 season.

Tebas, speaking on Sunday during the Movistar programme El Partidazo #VolverEsGanar provided the latest updates on the return of the competition. He said: “Depending on how training progresses, there is the possibility that we can have the first LaLiga game on Thursday June 11. It would be our hope to have a single game this day and that the teams that take part can play for all of Spain, almost as a tribute to the return and to everything that has happened.”

Tebas added: “We would like the first match to be the Seville derby, Sevilla – Real Betis. If we move forward as the Prime Minister stated, we may be able to have the game on Thursday the 11th. Hopefully at 10pm CET.”

This proposal remains subject to health advice and final sign off from the government. Tebas said the schedule for the first four rounds after resumption is expected to be announced in early June, with all matches set to take place in empty stadia. Tebas said kick-off times will take into account the high temperatures of the Spanish summer.

He added: “Our plan for kick-off times during the week would be to play in the afternoon or evening, between 7:30pm-8pm or 9:30pm-10pm. Over the weekend, there would be three slots: 5pm, 7:30pm, 9:30 or 10pm.”

Tebas also explained how club training sessions are evolving and announced some changes that were implemented as of Monday. He added: “This week they will train in groups of 14 players and it is not expected that full squad training will begin until next week.

“We must continue with the utmost caution, we have been through some very complicated spells during this pandemic and we do not want to rush deadlines at all.”