The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:
- Spanish soccer league can resume as soon as June 8
- World No. 1 Djokovic organizes Balkan region tennis series
- Formula One drivers fully support ‘ghost races’
- Mexican soccer league cancels season
Spanish soccer league allowed to resume in June
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Saturday that the soccer league in Spain will be allowed to resume from June 8.
While the top tier, La Liga, can play from this date, it has already said it wants to resume play on June 12. It is unclear when the first games will be held.
There has been no play in the top tier since March 12 due to the coronavirus crisis.
Teams have recently returned to training at club facilities, but with players practicing individually. Players are also undergoing tests for the coronavirus.
The interruption to the season forced several clubs, including Barcelona, to reduce player salaries because of a drop in revenues.
Barcelona is top of the league with a two-point lead over Real Madrid after 27 of 38 rounds.
Djokovic announces Balkan region tennis series
With professional tennis shut down by the novel coronavirus pandemic, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is bringing together some of the world’s top tennis players for a series of matches to run from June 13-July 5 in the Balkan region.
All pro tennis tours were suspended in early March and will not return before August as countries went into lockdown and closed borders to contain the spread of the virus.
Some players, including Djokovic, have returned to the practice courts while maintaining strict hygiene and social distancing norms, and some exhibition events without fans have also been held in countries like Germany and the United States.
Third-ranked Dominic Thiem of Austria and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who is 19th, have confirmed their participation in the eight-man event which will end with Djokovic’s exhibition match against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zadar, in Croatia, Montenegro and Banja Luka in Bosnia will be the other venues for the matches, which will be broadcast on television
F1 drivers fully support ‘ghost races’, says GPDA chair
Formula One drivers fully support plans to start the season with “ghost races” behind closed doors, according to Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Alex Wurz.
The sport aims to begin a season delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic with two back-to-back races without spectators at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in July.
More races under similar conditions will then be held in Europe with the sport also hoping some races can happen in Asia, the Middle East and Americas.
Formula One has so far seen three races cancelled, including the Monaco showcase that would have been this weekend, and seven postponed.
The plan is for teams, mostly Britain-based, to travel to Austria on charter flights and not to come into contact with the local population.
Mexican league cancels season over virus concerns
Mexico’s soccer league, Liga MX, has cancelled the remainder of its men’s and women’s 2020 seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic and no champions will be crowned, league officials announced on Friday.
The league had been in discussions with health officials about a possible return to action after it suspended play on March 15 but concluded it could not do so “without putting at risk the members of this great family.”
“It is indisputable that we are experiencing an unprecedented situation in our country, which forces the soccer industry in Mexico to act with absolute good sense and to respond with unity to the demands that have been presented to us,” the league said in a statement.
On Wednesday, eight players from Mexico’s Santos Laguna club tested positive for coronavirus despite none of them displaying any symptoms, the league said.
As of Friday, Mexico had registered 59,567 coronavirus infections and 6,510 deaths in total, according to a Reuters tally.