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Spain's La Liga confirms resumption date as Premier League manager questions the rush to return in England


Watford manager Nigel Pearson (Nick Potts/PA)

Watford manager Nigel Pearson (Nick Potts/PA)

Watford manager Nigel Pearson (Nick Potts/PA)

Spanish football's top division looks set to resume matches on June 8, after prime minister Pedro Sanchez gave the green light to the plan as he looks to open up his country amid the coronavirus crisis.

La Liga clubs have been in full contact training over the last week ahead of a possible resumption in June and now a date has been rubber-stamped for matches to get underway.

"Spain has done what it should and now new horizons are opening for everyone. The time has come to bring back many day-to-day activities," stated Sanchez.

"From 8 June, La Liga will be back. Spanish football has a huge following but it will not be the only recreational activity that will return."

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With Germany's Bundesliga already up and running and Spain now set to return, attempts to get the Premier League back underway took a huge step forward last Tuesday when players returned to training in small groups.

A vote among all 20 clubs on full-contact training is expected next Wednesday, but there are doubts over whether Premier League players will be ready to play matches on the proposed return date of June 12.

A date in late June may offer a more realistic timeframe, with Watford manager Nigel Pearson among those urging caution over what he sees as a rush to get football back on the agenda.

With three members of Watford's staff testing positive for Covid-19 and two more in isolation after coming into contact with infected colleagues, Hornets boss Nigel Pearson is now openly questioning whether the Premier League can restart next month.

"It doesn't seem right to be talking too much about football when we've got so many fatalities," said Pearson. "When we do restart, the stakes are high. It's got to be timed right and done for the right reasons. Players need time to allow their bodies to adapt.

"We've got until almost the end of August to finish the season. When we need to restart is debatable. Normally you want six weeks (of training). They're athletes and people sometimes turn their nose up when you try to explain.

"We want our players to be fit - we invest a lot of time, energy and money in them. They're our assets."

Pearson went on to suggest he feels he has rolled a personal dice by returning to training, as he revealed he has been forced to move his Dad out of his home as a result.

"I'm back at work now and my circle of contacts has gone from five or six to about 50. It's no longer safe for my dad to be living with us. So he's gone home," he confirmed.

"Am I at greater risk by coming back to work? Probably yes, a little bit. But do I feel safe at work? I think we're taking every precaution we can.

"We are committed to getting up and running but you can't compromise people's health and wellbeing."

Clubs are planning to play practice matches in what will be a mini 'pre-season' plan, but cramming training and matches into a three-week period appears to be a race that no club will be ready to support.

With football authorities suggesting the current season needs to be completed by the end of August at the latest, the restart date is expected to be discussed at the video conference call of all clubs on Wednesday.

Yet the doubts being expressed by Pearson and Watford over resuming matches will be a concern to Premier League chiefs, as they battle to convince all clubs to commit to playing games without key performers who are unwilling to play.

Online Editors