Spain’s football league had told its clubs on Friday it will delay testing of all its professional football players for Covid-19 “because the resumption of training sessions is going to be delayed.”
In a letter sent to the clubs, obtained and published by Spanish media, La Liga said it won’t start testing players, coaches and medical staff for the virus until the Spanish government approves a protocol for that.
All league football, including for the giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, stopped when Spain’s state of emergency went into effect on March 14.
La Liga president Javier Tebas confirmed sending the letter to the clubs to CNN. In a video press conference on Friday night, he said: “If we consider that we’ll have the protocol in the coming days, maybe next week, well, from April 28 until May 11, 12, 13, or 14, to start the training again, that’s a lot of days for the players” to wait, after testing.
Prioritize frontline workers: La Liga’s announcement came hours after the Spanish Footballers Association (AFE) said it sent two more letters to the government, “again expressing the concern” of first and second division team players about the Covid-19 tests and a resumption of training.
The association said the players think those decisions should be made by the government and it added the players “consider there are other groups that need the tests more at this time, along with access to health care supplies.”
Jordi Figueras, player for Racing Santander in the second division, told CNN the decision was the right one. His team issued a statement last Thursday stating their priority was to finish the tournament, but added that tests should first be available for frontline workers.
“Without knowing when training would exactly resume, there is no point to get tested soon,” he said.
Some Spanish media reported that La Liga had hoped to start Covid-19 testing of players as early as next week, as a first step before a resumption of training.
Spain’s state of emergency is due to end on May 9, after almost two months. But government officials said re-opening the country will be a gradual process so as to avoid a second wave of infections.