Russia’s Soccer Union has decided the country’s top league will resume play, albeit in empty stadiums, on June 21, three months after the season was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The country’s executive committee took the decision on May 15. When the season was suspended in mid-March, there were eight rounds of matches remaining in the 16-team top-flight league.
The national championship’s second and third divisions (FNL and PFL) will not return to play and their results as of March 17 will be counted as final, it added.
“I am glad that we resume the season at the best dates for the current situation — in the penultimate week of June. This will allow all players to prepare for their return to the field and play the season in a short, but reasonable time,” said Russian Premier League President Sergei Pryadki.
The Soccer Union also decided that up to five replacements of players will be allowed per match instead of the usual three. Decisions on the places for the matches will be determined by the situation regarding the outbreak.
Sports leagues around the globe have been looking at ways to get athletes back into competition while keeping them safe.
Germany’s top football league, the Bundesliga, will restart its season on May 16 with the final nine rounds played without spectators.
In South Korea, the football league season restarted on May 8 after several weeks off.
North American sports leagues such as basketball’s NBA and hockey’s NHL are still studying ways to finish their 2019-20 seasons, while baseball’s MLB has yet to start its season, which was slated to begin on March 26.
Japan was forced to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics until 2021 because of the pandemic.