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Coronavirus: Tebas confident all seasons can be completed by June 30

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As part of a working group set up by UEFA, LaLiga president Javier Tebas is aiming to ensure the 2019-20 season is finished by June 30.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas remains hopeful that all European leagues can be completed by June 30 despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The majority of sports across the globe have been halted by the outbreak of COVID-19, with football seeing Euro 2020 and the Copa America pushed back to 2021 as a result.

Tebas is part of a working group set up by UEFA to devise solutions for the “resumption and/or conclusion of the current season in a coherent manner”.

LaLiga’s chief is confident things can be wrapped up by the end of June, though he acknowledged around six weeks of competition would be required.

“The fundamental scenario is that mid or late May is the latest starting date to end on June 30,” said Tebas in an interview with El Pais.

“The scenario may also depend on some Champions League games that will be played at the weekend, which could give us some room to start some clubs later, or that we can recover by starting all a little later.

“We are even working with leagues like the Italian one, which has 14 games left, and the Danish one, which has 15 remaining. The decision of UEFA to postpone the European Championship has served us well to try to finish the competitions.

“We made the calendar calculations even before the European Championship was postponed. It was a stage that we knew could be reached and we are working on various start dates.

“Here you have to work backwards, with what is the last date on which you could play to see the options that may arise.

“When we start playing there will be full medical guarantees, but that no longer depends on us, it will depend on the governments of the countries. If they guarantee that it can be played, it will be played.”

 

Tebas insisted there are no plans to cut down on fixtures and admitted fans could be kept out of games when they resume.

He said: “That will also depend on the governments of each country. You have to think that we are working with 30 different leagues and it will depend on the health authorities if it is played behind closed doors or under what conditions.

“We are not considering any format change for any competition, including the European ones. The mandate that we have is to finish the competitions as they are now. The calendar with which it works is with the competitions in full and in their usual format.

“The only job that concerns me day and night is to finish the competitions.”

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Coronavirus: LaLiga Fest raises €625k as Pique talks of ‘invincible’ unity

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LaLiga stars and musicians came together for LaLiga Fest on Saturday, where a huge sum was raised to buy medical equipment.

LaLiga Fest raised more than €625,000 on Saturday as Barcelona stalwart Gerard Pique spoke of the need for unity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Where Saturday nights would normally consist of fixtures in Spain’s top flight, the live action was restricted to performances on an internet stream.

A host of LaLiga stars – including Pique – addressed supporters, while musicians performed at the online festival.

Fans were encouraged to donate to the Banco Santander Foundation, where the money would be used to buy medical equipment to combat COVID-19.

There have been over 72,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Spain, with close to 6,000 deaths.

The total raised ticked past €625,000 as the festival ended, although donations would continue to be welcomed until Sunday afternoon.

Barca’s Pique was the most high-profile star to address those watching, as he claimed players and supporters alike could be “invincible together”.

“Without training, at home and trying to stay in shape, it is not easy,” the World Cup winner said. “We will get through it between all of us.

 

“It is a difficult situation, but doing something like what LaLiga is doing makes us feel proud of the players and the fans.

“It is something unique that means any LaLiga fan is able to contribute their grain of sand. I am very happy to be able to participate in such an initiative.

“There is rivalry when we are on the field of play, but when people need us, we are united.

“There will be a cost, it is difficult, we will have difficult times. Others will suffer it in person, but we have to make it through together. We are all invincible together.”

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Coronavirus: Ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Rustu Recber hospitalised with COVID-19

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Rustu Recber returned a positive coronavirus test and has been hospitalised in Turkey.

Turkey great Rustu Recber has been hospitalised after testing positive for coronavirus, his wife Isil has revealed.

Goalkeeper Rustu spent much of his club career at Fenerbahce, including a loan stint with the Turkish Super Lig giants during a three-year stay at Barcelona.

A star of the 2002 World Cup, Rustu played just seven times for Barca – all within the 2003-04 season – but retired aged 39 in 2012 with 120 international caps to his name.

The 46-year-old’s wife Isil posted on her Instagram page on Saturday to inform fans of her husband’s diagnosis.

“I would like to give you more positive news while sharing the truth in the most transparent way, but I’m sorry to say that my husband Rustu is hospitalised with the diagnosis of COVID-19,” she wrote.

 

“We are shocked by the rapid symptoms that developed suddenly when everything was normal. These are critical and difficult times.

“May Allah give emergency relief to all patients, including my dear husband.

“My only request is that people can be a little more conscientious and respectful in the process. In the tests we have done, my daughter and son were negative and only my husband was positive.

“For this reason, we are at home while he’s in hospital, and we are not allowed to see him. In fact, this is the most difficult part, not being able to be with him.

“Allah is great and is entrusted to him and the Turkish doctors. I hope this will pass.”

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Messi is Argentina’s ‘leader and protector’, says Tagliafico

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Argentina international Nicolas Tagliafico lauded Lionel Messi’s impact on the national team.

Lionel Messi is the “leader and protector” of Argentina, according to international team-mate Nicolas Tagliafico.

Messi, 32, has faced criticism for his performances for the national team as his wait for a first senior trophy at international level goes on.

But Ajax defender Tagliafico, a 25-time Argentina international, said the Barcelona star was key for his nation.

“Messi was released from the pressure to get results [at the 2019 Copa America, where Argentina finished third],” he told Ole.

“He more than anyone gets angry when he loses, but Messi became more aware that he has to enjoy the national team.

“I don’t know until when he will play, but it is not that he will have too many cups with the national team. He is at a stage where he wants to enjoy everything, training, games.

“He is the leader and protector of the team. That facet came out that we might not always see.”

The Copa America was due to be played again this year, but has been pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tagliafico said it was crucial for Argentina, who are unbeaten in seven games, to develop a strong foundation.

“We must find a very solid structure, not only for Leo, but also for the future, for what is to come,” he said.

“To be able to find a structure to grow. It is good to build a solid foundation and don’t build a base and then take it apart.

“If we can help Leo and Leo can help us, we will do much better. Everything is going to multiply. You have to create a structure and from there start to grow.”

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