'Football no more dangerous than factory work or fishing' - La Liga president critical of decision to end Ligue 1 season

Javier Tebas La Liga

La Liga president Javier Tebas has been critical of the decision to call an end to the Ligue 1 season, comparing matches behind closed doors to working on an assembly line or fishing boat as Spanish football moves closer to a return.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Tuesday that professional athletes, including footballers, may return to a limited form of training as soon as May 4.

The return to training is the first of what Sanchez sees as four phases, with the second being a step up in training at performances centres.

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At the third step, outdoor activities with less than 400 attendees can begin before the final phase: a return to "the new standard".

With Sanchez's statement, the Spanish government made it clear that it believes the La Liga season can still be finished, despite the recent cancellations of France's Ligue 1 and the Netherlands' Eredivisie.

Tebas criticised France's decision to end their season altogether due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Liga president saying that giving up on the season was not a wise economic or social decision.

Instead, he says he wants the Primera Division to get back to play while taking all the precautions necessary to make sure players and staff are safe.

"I do not understand why there would more danger in playing football behind closed doors, with all precautionary measures, than working on an assembly line, being on a fishing boat on the high seas, etc.," Tebas said in a statement.

"If important economic sectors cannot restart, in a safe and controlled manner, they could end up disappearing. That could happen to professional football.

"In other countries, teams are already training, that's the example to follow.

"In Spain, football is an important economic driver that we need to reactivate like many others. We continue to focus on this reactivation, in a responsible manner and adhering to health recommendations, as soon as possible."

As things stand, Barcelona sit atop La Liga, maintaining a two-point lead over rivals Real Madrid through 27 matches.

Sevilla and Real Sociedad currently sit in the other two Champions League spots, with Getafe, Atletico Madrid and Valencia all within five points of third place.