MADRID – Completing the domestic soccer season takes precedence after completing the Champions League.
Spanish league president Javier Tebas said Tuesday that several ideas were being studied by the league and UEFA, including having European competition restarted only after the national league was over.
“The most likely scenario starts on May 29, or June 6 or June 7, or June 28 for all European leagues,” Tebas said in a conference call with international journalists.
Tebas said the Spanish league had talks with other leagues almost every day to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic affected sports. He said there was still time before a final decision could be made about when to continue playing in each country. But he added that the league should try to restart as soon as possible, even before the end of May in some cases.
There are two types of calendars considered, Tebas said. One has domestic and European leagues playing simultaneously as before, starting around June 6th. Others have European tournaments that are played after the national league ends, either in July or August.
If the league starts at the end of May, European tournaments will resume in July. If the league starts at the end of June, European competition will resume in August.
“This scenario will be studied in the next few weeks, taking into account how the pandemic develops,” Tebas said through a translator. “Personally, it makes me feel confident that the domestic league and European league will be resolved.”
Tebas said UEFA had made “considerable efforts” to reach agreement on its competition, “more than the national league.”
He said it was very possible the Spanish league would start over with a match in an empty stadium.
“We did not consider at all that we would not return to playing matches,” he said. “What I cannot be sure of is whether with or without an audience, but I am sure the league will be over.”
Tebas said the loss of not completing the season could reach 1 billion euros ($ 1.1 billion) in Spain alone. The loss if the league continues with matches in an empty stadium is around 300 million euros ($ 324 million), and if it starts again with fans it will be almost 150 million euros ($ 162 million).
Nearly half of the total losses will be brought by the players, and Tebas said it was impossible to reach an agreement with them regarding the salary cuts needed to reduce the financial impact of the crisis. He expects “almost all Spanish clubs” to reach an agreement with the players in the coming days – either individually or through government leave.
“Obviously it is very complicated to make players receive less money,” Tebas said. “We have tried to reach a global agreement with the union, but we have not yet reached that agreement. That is absolutely impossible. “
Tebas said eight teams had asked the government to use their players to temporarily reduce labor costs. The players say they are always open to reducing their salaries to help the club, but not to the extent desired by the league.
Tebas said the club had collected about 90% of the money from television broadcasting rights, and that part of the revenue would have to be returned if the season was not over.
Tebas said the league already had a protocol “drafted by three medical teams” with recommendations for when the practice would continue, although he did not expect normal training sessions to begin until the government closes on April 26.
“Our training protocol has been sent to different leagues so they can learn it and they can contribute to that,” Tebas said. “Obviously this is a global problem, so what happens in one country we will try to copy or fix.”
Spain has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than 140,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 13,800 deaths.
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