La Liga clubs given permission to expand into group training

The Spanish government has announced protocol that will allow training sessions to be expanded by all clubs. (Reuters)
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Updated 18 May 2020

La Liga clubs given permission to expand into group training

  • The move comes as a boost to La Liga’s hopes of restarting the season in the middle of June

MADRID: La Liga have told clubs they will be able to increase training to involve groups of up to 10 players on Monday as teams take another step towards the planned resumption of the season next month.

The Spanish government has announced protocol that will allow training sessions to be expanded by all clubs, even those belonging to areas that are further behind in the country’s de-escalation program.

It means teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Aletico Madrid will be able to train in groups of 10, a source at La Liga told AFP, despite both Madrid and Catalonia remaining in “phase 0” as two of Spain’s worst-hit regions by coronavirus.

Espanyol, Leganes, Getafe and Real Valladolid will also be given special permission to do training in larger groups.

The move comes as a boost to La Liga’s hopes of restarting the season in the middle of June and following the lead of Germany’s Bundesliga, which staged games behind closed doors at the weekend.

Teams in the top two divisions in Spain have already returned to their training grounds this month, with players working individually as part of La Liga’s staggered program, which includes regular testing and strict medical protocol.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has circled June 12 as the ideal date for matches to return but admitted the exact timing will depend on the health authorities in Spain and the trajectory of the virus.

According to an official statement by the government on Saturday, professional sports clubs “may carry out complete training sessions” while “complying with the corresponding prevention and hygiene measures.”

The statement puts the maximum number at 14 for group training but La Liga have informed clubs the limit will be 10 on Monday.

La Liga first suspended fixtures on March 14 and Tebas has estimated that failing to complete the season would cost clubs around 1 billion euros.


Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

Updated 26 October 2020

Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

ARLINGTON, United States: Brett Phillips’s single scored two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays walked off with a stunning 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday that knotted the World Series at two games apiece.
The Rays became the first team in post-season history to homer in four straight innings, but they trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
With two out and two on, Phillips — who entered the game in the eighth as a pinch runner — was down to his last strike in the ninth when he singled to right center field off Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen and Kevin Kiermaier scored from second base.
Randy Arozarena racing from first, rounded third after the ball bounced off the glove of Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor.
Arozarena tripped between third and home and looked done for, but Dodgers catcher Will Smith bobbled the throw to the plate and Arozarena was able to scramble forward and throw himself headfirst across the plate in time.
“Golly, what a special moment,” said Phillips, who last got a hit in the Rays’ 58th game of the regular season on September 25.
“I am having a hard time putting my emotions into words,” Phillips said. “Baseball is fun.”
Kiermaier called the ending — which sent the Rays into a frenzy of celebration on Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, “truly incredible.”
Arozarena notched a record-breaking ninth home run of the post-season. Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe also homered for the Rays, who are seeking the first World Series title in franchise history.
The Dodgers, back in the World Series for a third time in four years after disappointments in 2017 and 2018, are seeking their seventh title — but a first since 1988.
“This is certainly a tough one,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They were the best team all year in the American League.
“They are not going to give anything away. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”
The spectacular ending, capped a tense back-and-forth battle with a World Series record eight straight half-innings with a run scored.
Justin Turner and Corey Seager homered for the Dodgers. Seager’s was his eighth of the playoffs, temporarily tying the single post-season record until Arozarena notched his ninth in the fourth frame.
For the second game in a row Turner got things rolling with a solo homer in the first inning.
Seager added a solo shot in the top of the third that put the Dodgers up 2-0, but Arozarena pulled back a run in the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off blast to right centerfield off a 95 mph fastball from Julio Urias.
Los Angeles stretched the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Seager singled off Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks and reached second on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning Max Muncy reached first on a sharp line drive to right field that scored Seager.
The Rays responded with a home run from Renfroe to cut the margin to one run in the bottom of the fifth.
The Dodgers pushed the lead back to two in the top of the sixth when Enrique Hernandez fired a double down the left field line that scored two.
But Lowe — the two-homer hero of the Rays’ game-two victory — put the Rays in front for the first time with a three-run blast off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez in the bottom of the sixth.
In the seventh, Dodgers pinch-hitter Joc Pederson came up with the bases loaded and two out and delivered a two-run single that put Los Angeles back in front.
All seven Dodgers runs came with two outs — continuing a trend for them this series.
The Rays however, wouldn’t be denied, Kiermaier’s homer off Baez knotting the score at 6-6.
“We have no quit,” Kiermaier said. “We have been doing that all year. We’ve been the comeback kids. To do it on the big stage makes it that much sweeter.”