La Liga president Javier Tebas critical of decision to shut down France's Ligue 1 season

La Liga president Javier Tebas does not believe soccer leagues should cancel their seasons. (Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

La Liga president Javier Tebas took issue with the decision to cancel the rest of 2019-20 season in France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, insinuating that if professional soccer doesn’t resume soon it could “disappear.”

La Liga president critical of ending soccer seasons

According to Rob Harris of the Associated Press, Tebas leader was critical of the choice to put off the return of soccer, calling the sport an “important economic sector.”

“I do not understand why there would be more danger in playing football behind closed doors, with all the precautionary measures, than working on an assembly line, being on a fishing boat on the high seas, etc. etc. If important economic sectors cannot restart, in a safe and controlled manner, they could end up disappearing. That could happen to professional football.

“In other countries teams are already training, that’s the example to follow. In Spain, football is an important economic driver that we need to reactive like many others. We continued to focus on this reactivation, in a responsible manner an adhering to health recommendations, as soon as possible.”

Tebas’ comments came within hours of the French government announcing that sporting events of more than 5,000 people will not take place in France before September. That ban would prevent Ligue 1 and 2 from finishing their seasons.

Spain prime minister prepares to restart country

Spanish prime minster Pedro Sánchez shared details Tuesday of a plan to reopen the country that’s divided into phases over two to six weeks.

El Confidencial, a Spanish digital newspaper, covered the plans in a Twitter thread. As part of the first phase, outdoor events will be allowed as long as the gathering is fewer than 400 people. That would allow La Liga to start up in a “safe and controlled manner” assuming it is behind closed doors as Tebas mentioned.

The Dutch Eredivisie has also shut down its season, while clubs in other leagues around the world are planning on returning to training camp in May and resuming matches in the first week of June. FIFA medical chief Michel D’Hooghe told the Telegraph on Tuesday he would be happy if soccer waited until August, which would be the start of the 2020-21 season, to resume.

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