League-by-league guide to the return of football around Europe
Paris (AFP) –
As the German Bundesliga this weekend becomes the first major European league to resume following the two-month coronavirus shutdown, AFP Sport casts a glance at the situation in countries across the continent:
- Leagues restarting -
The German Bundesliga returns on Saturday with nine rounds of the season still to be played and all matches going ahead behind closed doors.
It is not the first European league to return, however. That honour goes to the Faroe Islands, which resumed its league last weekend. Not forgetting Belarus, which was the only European country where football has carried on throughout the last two months.
Here are confirmed restart dates elsewhere:
Czech Republic -- May 23
Denmark -- May 28
Serbia -- May 30
Austria -- June 2
Portugal -- June 4
Croatia -- June 6
Turkey -- June 12
Norway -- June 16
Russia -- June 21
Finland -- July 1
- Still awaiting green light -
England, Spain and Italy all remain hopeful of completing the season but ongoing concerns about the health crisis mean nothing is set in stone.
The UK and Italy have been the worst affected countries in Europe by the pandemic and Spain is not far behind.
Nevertheless, the English Premier League and second-tier Championship are targeting a mid-June restart. Other countries hoping to be able to resume are:
Romania -- May 27
Poland -- May 29
Spain -- June 12
Italy -- June 13
Greece -- June 14
Switzerland -- June 20
- Season over -
The Netherlands became the first European country to bring an early end to the season on April 24 as the Eredivisie was cancelled without a champion being crowned.
France then followed suit on April 30, ending the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed.
The season was not voided, though, with Paris Saint-Germain confirmed as champions, European places dished out and relegation and promotion between the top two divisions maintained on a two-up, two-down basis.
On Friday Belgium confirmed its season was over, with Club Brugge champions, after the Belgian government announced last week it was suspending all sporting competitions until July 31.
In Scotland the season has already been called early in the three divisions below the top flight and the Premiership is on the verge of doing the same, which would mean Celtic being crowned champions.
Cyprus called an end to its season on Friday without naming a champion, although European places were attributed with Omonia Nicosia entering the qualifying rounds of the next Champions League.
© 2020 AFP