La Liga might not return before summer - Spain's health minister

Health minister Salvador Illa has refused to offer any guarantee the Spanish football season will resume before Spain's summer arrives.

Appearing at a government coronavirus briefing on Sunday, Illa spoke about the prospect of La Liga returning.

There have been no Spanish top-flight games since early March, and although there are hopes matches could start from June, Illa was careful not to present any timeframe.

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He said: "I cannot say if football is going to be able to restart its activity before summer. It would be imprudent of me to offer a definitive view."

La Liga teams have been given the go-ahead to return to training, possibly as soon as early May, providing they abide by Spanish government protocols.

That decision was reached in a meeting last weekend between Spain's National Sports Council (CSD), the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and La Liga.

However, staging games is clearly some way off, and it seems certain any resumption would mean fixtures being played initially behind closed doors.

Reports have suggested clubs and league officials could be targeting a return to action on June 6 or June 13; however, Illa's circumspection indicates Spain's reluctance to rush into any such decision.

Barcelona head the league table after 27 rounds of the 38-game season, two points clear of nearest rivals Real Madrid.

Spain has been severely hit by the pandemic, with the country suffering over 23,000 deaths.

Barcelona boss Quique Setien recently claimed RFEF's proposals for the La Liga season resuming are "unworkable" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Everyone wants to be ready for when the season starts again, but that cannot happen until the health authorities can guarantee that there will be no problems," Setien told radio station RAC1.

"I have read the protocol and the reality is I don't know if it can be carried out as it is written. I think it's unworkable. I think it's very difficult logistically.

"The situation is what it is, I don't know if this means it is ok to give to us the Liga title, I won't feel like a champion even having a larger lead than when I arrived, when we were equal with Real Madrid.

"This is a very hard situation for everyone and what matters to me is to find a solution ASAP for going out and being able to see others, and helping people who are suffering this situation with more intensity."

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