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Serie A teams could return to camp in May, La Liga might be further off [UPDATE]

Two European football-mad nations are taking opposite tacks when it comes to returning to the pitch.

Matias Vecino of FC Internazionale and Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus look on during the Serie A match between Juventus and FC Internazionale played behind closed doors at Allianz Stadium after the Italian Government has issued a list of new guidelines to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 on March 8, 2020 in Turin, Italy. Photo by Claudio Villa - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

UPDATE, April 29: Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora said on Wednesday there is, “an increasingly narrow path for the resumption of the Serie A... If I were one of the presidents (of the clubs) I would focus on the next season.” This comes a day after the prime minister said Serie A teams could return to training as soon as May 4th.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has said Serie A teams can begin training as soon as May 4th as long as social distancing guidelines are respected. As for team training, it could begin as soon as May 18th.

Considering Italy was one of the most afflicted countries on the continent with the virus, the return of football will be an important step in the nation’s recovery in the calcio-mad nation.

Conte said the sports minister, Vincenzo Spadafora, would work “intensively” with scientists and league officials to ensure training was safe. Conte added that the next step would be to resume sporting events behind closed doors, but did not give a potential date.

“We will try to see if they can continue with the championships that are suspended,” Conte said. “We will only reach this conclusion if it can be guaranteed that it is safe. We don’t want our athletes to get sick.”

“I’m passionate for football,” Conte added. “Like many Italians, I initially found it strange that the championship could be interrupted or suspended, but I think even the most ardent fan understands there wasn’t an alternative.”

There are also established protocols for each club to return, which include quarantining both players and staff after arrival, and the donation of five test kids for each one used by teams. As of now Juventus stands one point clear of Lazio through 26 matches of 38 scheduled.

On the other hand, Spain might be further away from a return as Salvador Illa, Spain’s health minister, said elite sports are unlikely to return until the summer.

Spain has been without football since March 10, when a nationwide lockdown began days later. The eternal rivals of Barcelona and Real Madrid stand two points apart from each other after 27 rounds of the 38-match season.

La Liga teams have been given the go-ahead to return to training, possibly as soon as early May, providing they abide by Spanish government protocols.

That decision was reached in a meeting last weekend between Spain’s National Sports Council (CSD), the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and La Liga.

However, staging games is clearly some way off, and it seems certain any resumption would mean fixtures being played initially behind closed doors.

As with all situations regarding the potential return of major sports, these situations are quite fluid. We’ll keep you abreast here with the latest information.