Thursday, June 4, 2020
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ARGENTINA | 18-05-2020 08:34

Lammens suggests moving football matches to province without coronavirus

It "would not be crazy" to move games to a province with little to no circulation of the virus, should football restart, says Tourism and Sports minister.

In the battle to get football up and running again, Argentina's Tourism and Sports Minister Matías Lammens on Sunday proposed moving all professional football matches in the country to a single province.

Lammens, a president of the San Lorenzo football club, said such a move "would not be crazy," suggesting that a province with little or no circulation of the novel Covid-19 coronavirus would be a suitable host for players, officials and clubs.

The minister, speaking to América TV, clarified, however, that the decision to bring back the game "does not depend on the Argentine State," but on the authorities and professionals of the local league, in consultation with doctors, epidemiologists and other medical specialists.

"It does not depend on us. But it would not be crazy. All those who go there should be tested and everyone kept isolated in a hotel," said the official, a former candidate for mayor of Buenos Aires City.

Lammens' idea is nothing out of the blue – similar ideas were proposed in several European countries that have been eager to finish their leagues and seasons. Germany's Bundesliga restarted its season this weekend, with matches behind closed doors.

To date, the Covid-19 pandemic in Argentina has delivered  7,792 infections and 366 deaths, with 2,569 individuals said to have recovered. However, almost 90 percent of the country's cases are concentrated in Buenos Aires City and its overpopulated surroundings. Circulation of the coronavirus is far lower in other provinces.

Officials are said to be studying a set of protocols that would allow footballers to gradually return to training, though a specific date has yet to be given.

To date, the only decision that is officially studied is a gradual return to training, although without a certain date. 

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) has officially ended the season, cancelling the Copa Superliga. AFA officials have said they do not expect games to restart until the end of the year, with December pencilled in as a potential restart date for the nation's most loved sport.

– TIMES/AFP

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