On a day France’s Ligue 1 joined Netherlands top-flight in ending the current season, the German league confirmed Thursday that clubs have started testing players for the coronavirus as part of plans for the Bundesliga to resume next month while reports suggest Spain could follow suit.
Testing for the virus, which has so far claimed over 6,000 lives in Germany, is a key component in the plans to restart the Bundesliga in stadiums without spectators.
The DFL confirmed that regular testing has begun in the top two leagues amid hopes matches could be played from as early as May 9 or May 16, reported AFP.
However, the league still needs the go-ahead from Angela Merkel’s government to resume.
German Chancellor Merkel chaired a video conference with the premiers of the 16 states on Thursday when the Bundesliga was discussed.
A final decision is expected next Wednesday.
“Then we will make a clear decision regarding sporting activities,” Merkel said in a statement.
The labour ministry, which has approved the restart plans, has demanded each player be tested twice before clubs resume team training, having so far trained mainly in smaller groups.
Players would be subject to strict hygiene measures, including testing for the virus every few days.
According to German daily Bild, defending champions Bayern Munich, who were four points clear when the league was halted in mid-March, were among those who started testing Thursday.
Other clubs are expected to start testing in the coming days.
Spain eyes restart
La Liga is planning to start testing players for the coronavirus next week as president Javier Tebas bids to restart the season, a league source told AFP on Thursday.
“These tests must begin next week” the source told AFP, as the Spanish league’s protocol governing return to competition includes Covid-19 screening for players and coaching staff.
Daily sports newspaper AS and Marca report La Liga is planning to carry out the tests between Tuesday and Thursday next week, after which they would then be able to resume individual training programmes within 48 hours.
The process contains four stages which progressively take players from individual sessions to team training and according to Tebas can last “around a month”.
“I hope that we can start playing in June. We have until June 28,” Tebas said to television channel Movistar on Tuesday, after the Spanish government gave the green light for professional players to return to individual training.
(With AFP inputs)