La Liga chief wants restart by June 12 despite 8 new positive tests

Real Betis football club handout photo shows the club’s Brazilian defender Emerson Aparecido in training. (AFP)
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Updated 12 May 2020

La Liga chief wants restart by June 12 despite 8 new positive tests

  • Despite Sunday’s announcement of more positive tests, Tebas insisted Spain was on the right track for a speedy resumption of the sport

MADRID: The president of Spain’s La Liga on Sunday said he hopes the tournament can resume on June 12 but that their hands are tied by government health policy.

Javier Tebas was speaking just hours after five players from Spain’s top two leagues had tested positive for coronavirus.

He then confirmed that three non-playing staff had also tested positive.

“I would like it (the season resuming) to be June 12, but it will depend on the numbers,” Tebas told Movistar.

“In the end it will be up to the health authorities. They explain what can be done. We do not rush, we are not the ones who decide the phases.”

Despite Sunday’s announcement of more positive tests, Tebas insisted Spain was on the right track for a speedy resumption of the sport.

“It is less than we expected. We expected 25 or 30, according to the numbers seen in the Bundesliga and the potency of the virus in Spain.

“Out of 2,500 individuals only eight positives. And the players already are in the final phase of the disease and this week they will be tested again.”

Tebas added that when the competition restarts, players will be tested 24 hours beforehand.

“In the match environment, infection is practically impossible because we have carried out a study that we will present that shows the smallest risk is in matches if everyone respects the medical protocol.

“If things are done as they should be, there shouldn’t be any infections. If five infected appear in one club, it would suggest some negligence.”

Players in Spain’s top-flight and Segunda division were allowed to carry out individual work at training grounds last week.

The move was the beginning of a staggered training program with the aim to restart competitive games in the middle of June.

La Liga insist identifying infected players through positive tests are part of that plan.

The five players, who have not been officially named, will now be quarantined at home and tested again “in the next few days.” 

They will be allowed to rejoin their club’s training program only after obtaining two consecutive negative test results.

La Liga’s training plan includes players initially carrying out work individually before then expanding into small groups and finally taking part in larger team sessions.

Barcelona’s players were back for their first session on Friday while Real Madrid’s were to return on Monday.

The medical protocol for training is strict and includes players arriving already changed and at specific times to avoid contact with others.

They wear masks and gloves, and have their temperatures taken before entering the premises. At the end of training, they take away a bag of fresh kit for the next day and shower at home.

Last week, Leganes coach Javier Aguirre said he had been told that the proposed date to resume is June 20.

That could correspond with the Spanish government’s de-escalation programme, which includes outside events being allowed to go ahead in their fourth and final phase, as long as they are attended by fewer than 400 people.

Football matches are expected to be staged behind closed doors for several months.


Postponed Tokyo Olympics to cost extra $2.4bn

Updated 04 December 2020

Postponed Tokyo Olympics to cost extra $2.4bn

  • The extra costs come as officials work to build enthusiasm for the first Games postponed in peacetime,
  • Tokyo 2020 said an additional $1.5 billion would be needed for operational costs related to the delay

TOKYO: The coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics will cost at least an extra $2.4 billion, organizers said Friday, with the unprecedented postponement and a raft of pandemic health measures ballooning an already outsized budget.
The extra costs come as officials work to build enthusiasm for the first Games postponed in peacetime, insisting the massive event can go ahead next year even if the pandemic is not under control.
But more spending, on top of the previous budget of about $13 billion, could further harden public opinion in Japan, where polls this year showed a majority of people think the Games should be postponed again or canceled together.
“Whether it’s seen as too much or that we have done well to contain the costs, I think it depends on how you look at it,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters.
“We have done all we can to earn the public’s understanding,” he added.
Tokyo 2020 said an additional $1.5 billion would be needed for operational costs related to the delay, with another $900 million in spending on coronavirus countermeasures.
The dollar figures are calculated at an exchange rate of 107 yen, and the total is around $2.56 billion at today’s rate. The costs look set to rise further, with Tokyo 2020 saying it would also release an additional $250 million in “contingency” funds.

The new spending swells a budget that was set last year at around $13 billion, and will add to disquiet about the cost of the Games after an audit report last year argued the national government was spending significantly more than originally planned.
The extra costs will be split between Tokyo, the organizing committee and the national government. The International Olympic Committee will not be chipping in, but has agreed to waive its sponsor royalty fee for the first time, organizers said.
The unprecedented decision to delay the Games has thrown up a plethora of extra costs, from rebooking venues and transport to retaining the huge organizing committee staff.
And with organizers committed to hosting the Games even if the pandemic remains a threat, extensive safety measures will be needed.
Tokyo 2020 this week released a 54-page plan they said would make it possible to hold the Games, including restrictions on athletes touching and fans cheering, and an infection control center in the Olympic Village.
Organizers have tried to scale back elements of the Games, offering fewer free tickets, scrapping athlete welcome ceremonies and making savings on mascots, banners and meals, but so far they have cut just $280 million in spending.
And on Thursday, they said 18 percent of Olympic tickets sold in Japan will be refunded, with domestic fans demanding their money back on about 810,000 of the 4.45 million tickets sold in the country.


Organizers hope to now resell those tickets, and demand for seats at the Games was high before the pandemic.
But enthusiasm has since waned, with a poll in July revealing that just one in four people wanted to see the event held in 2021, and most backing either further delay or cancelation.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said the spending plan was carefully considered and he hoped people would accept it.
“If you have a drink, you could say your glass is half-full, or half empty. It depends on how you look at it,” he told reporters.
“There’s a rationale behind this plan. I hope the Japanese people will understand it.”
Tokyo 2020’s final price tag has been hotly disputed, with an audit report last year estimating the national government spent nearly 10 times its original budget between 2013-2018.
Organizers countered that the estimate included items not directly related to the Games.