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Which football leagues have been suspended by coronavirus and when will they return?

15:00 EAT 23/03/2020
Lionel Messi Jurgen Klopp Cristiano Ronaldo
Competitions all over the world have been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Goal has taken a look at when the divisions could restart

The coronavirus pandemic has caused almost every professional football league around the world to suspend play.

Despite initially trying to play on through the outbreak, governments stepped in to ensure matches were played behind closed doors, before the leagues were ultimately suspended.

Goal has taken a look at the state of the major leagues across Europe as they look to finish their seasons in a timely manner.

Which football leagues have been suspended?

Serie A was first to suspend play with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte banning sporting events in the Lombardy and Veneto regions in February.

It was then announced on March 4 that all matches in the country would have to be played behind closed doors before calling a halt to Serie A proceedings on March 9.

Just a few days later, La Liga was suspended after a Real Madrid basketball player tested positive for Covid-19 and the entire Real Madrid football team was placed in quarantine due to the two sides sharing a training facility.

The 2020 MLS season was just two weeks old when commissioner Don Garber postponed the campaign for at least a month on March 12 - a period which was subsequently extended.

March 13 proved to be arguably the most damning day in football, with the Premier League, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga all suspending their respective leagues in the space of 24 hours.

The English Football League suspended the Championship, League One and League Two on March 13.

When will football leagues return?

League Intended Return Date
Bundesliga April 30
Serie A Suspended indefinitely
Premier League Suspended indefinitely
La Liga Suspended indefinitely
MLS May 10
Ligue 1 Suspended indefinitely

A number of leagues intend to return around the same time, with dates in April and May circled as possibilities. However, actual return dates are subject to the virus containment efforts and governmental assent.

The Bundesliga is hoping to return to action at some point at the end of April, but the dates are continuously being reviewed. It had initially aimed for an April date, similar to Serie A, though Italian Footballers' Association (AIC) president Damiano Tommasi correctly said it would be ‘impossible’ for Serie A to start again by then. Italy's Minister for Sport, Vincenzo Spadafora believes that an early May date is "too optimistic".

The Premier League had initially been on a similar time frame, but changed their forecast to April 30 in an announcement on March 19, before subsequently conceding that action would not resume at the beginning of May. Similarly, La Liga was on the early April schedule, but has now made the suspension length indefinite.

MLS is targeting a May 10 return date. The competitions had been placed on a one-month hiatus and previously targeted a return on Saturday April 11. There is currently no return date for Ligue 1 after the league was suspended ‘until further notice’.

Forecasts vary by country, driven by the different degrees to which their respective populations have been affected. For example, while some countries are hopeful of action being back by May, the chief executive of Spanish broadcaster Mediapro Jaume Roures believes July is a realistic time for La Liga to aim for.