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La Liga set for individual training return on May 4

Lionel Messi's Barcelona lead La Liga with 11 rounds of the season to play
Lionel Messi's Barcelona lead La Liga with 11 rounds of the season to play LLUIS GENE AFP/File
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Madrid (AFP)

Spain's professional athletes including La Liga players can restart basic training from May 4, the country's government announced on Tuesday.

The Spanish top-flight has been on hold since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the decision was the first move in lifting lockdown measures which will be done in four stages across two months.

"The first phase, or phase 0, is the preparation to transition phase or the de-escalation phase, which we are already in," Sanchez said.

"In the best-case scenario, this de-escalation phase will take a minimum of six weeks and the maximum duration we want to see is eight weeks for the whole of Spain," he added.

Only later in later stages of the process will full sessions be able to take place.

The announcement allows the league's clubs to restart individual sessions with their squad members, a protocol agreed upon by La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation earlier this month.

According to local reports players will have to undergo COVID-19 screening tests before returning to training.

They will have to arrive at their club's facilities already in kit, with gloves and masks, and only a maximum of six players can be on the pitch at the same time.

COVID-19 has claimed nearly 24,000 lives in the country, behind the United States and Italy in mortality rates from the virus.

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