The boss of the Spanish top division wants the 2019-20 season to get back underway on June 11 so the next campaign can start in the autumn
La Liga president Javier Tebas wants the 2020-21 season to start on September 12 and has warned clubs face €700 million (£630m/$780m) collective losses due to the disruption caused by coronavirus this year.
Tebas says organisers have been working hard behind the scenes to make restarting the season practical, although many of the logistical problems will depend on how the country’s regional governments are easing lockdown measures.
Restrictions are gradually being lifted across Spanish territories, with several areas now having moved from Phase One to Phase Two, which allows people greater freedom to travel and exercise in small groups away from their homes. Madrid and parts of Catalonia, including Barcelona, are still in Phase One, however.
“We’ll start, God willing, on June 11,” Tebas told Marca. “Let’s hope Madrid and Barcelona go to Phase Two.
“There are more than 130 people at La Liga working so that everything can be done, in a new way: travelling, organisation, everything.
“We’re prepared and the important thing will be the day we finish the competition. The next will start on September 12.”
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) May 28, 2020
Clubs including Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have had to agree to wage reductions or deferrals due to the loss of income caused by matches being suspended and the prospect of the rest of the season being played behind closed doors.
Tebas hopes to see struggling clubs given sufficient support given the significant losses they are due to make.
“It’s important that the disaster of the pandemic does not generate an economic disaster afterwards,” he said. “This is a study to see who believes in the sports industry and who doesn’t. It will be important to see who our allies are.
“Returning does not mean we are not going to lose millions. Our clubs will lose at least €700m and that will have to be recovered. In that push, it will be good to see who has believed in the industry from the start.”
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Tebas says La Liga is also testing methods of adding virtual crowd noise to empty grounds, to give television viewers the option of watching games with audible chants in the background.
Similar sound effects have been used in recent Bundesliga and K League 1 matches, with viewers able to turn the noise on or off via an app.
“Tonight, we will have tests so that, at an audiovisual level, the viewer can choose two images: the real one, and the one with the fans and virtual sound,” said Tebas. “In the Bundesliga, they’ve chosen virtual sound with great success and we’re working on providing that option. We want to give the fans the alternatives: silence, or virtual stands.”