Legia Warsaw Polish Ekstraklasa LeagueGetty/Goal

Polish Ekstraklasa set to return in May as government approve coronavirus plan

The Polish Ekstraklasa is set to resume at the end of May after a plan from the league and the country's Football Association (PZPN) was approved by the Polish government.

Marcin Animucki, president of the board of the Ekstraklasa, says play could start again on May 29 if the five-step plan goes ahead as planned.

The first step of the process has already been implemented. On Monday, April 20, all players and coaching staff from the Ekstraklasa’s 16 teams went into self-isolation at home, a phase which will continue for two weeks with clubs sending daily health reports.

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The second step is due to come on May 4, when sports facilities will open for groups of up to six people and players can begin their return to training.

The third step in the process sees classrooms and school facilities reopened, with clubs hoping they will be allowed to organise individual training with their players at their home stadiums, which they argue is a less risky environment than an open park.

The fourth step sees facilities including gyms, fitness clubs and swimming pools reopened with sporting events accommodating up to 50 people back on the table, meaning team training could resume.

A specific date for this stage, or the final stage which sees the resumption of the Ekstraklasa, has not yet been set but it seems likely to come at the end of May.

Players and coaches would have to undergo coronavirus tests before returning to training, with the same tests necessary for referees and match officials before any game can get underway.

“This is great news,” said Ekstraklasa chief Animucki.

“The government's consent to resume training gives us a chance to implement the plan we have been working on for the past four weeks together with experts within the crisis staff.

“Unless unexpected problems arise, and the health situation in the country allows it, after passing the preparation period the league could start on May 29.”

“I am very happy that sport is reviving slowly,” added Danuta Dmowska-Andrzejuk, the Minister for Sport.

“I hope that we will return to normal soon and that our athletes will bring a bag of medals back from next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.”