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Soccer: La Liga to return June 11, followed by Premier League, Serie A

La Liga leaders Barcelona and Lionel Messi will resume their season June 11 as part of the league's plan to return from a suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE
La Liga leaders Barcelona and Lionel Messi will resume their season June 11 as part of the league's plan to return from a suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE

May 29 (UPI) -- Three of Europe's five major soccer leagues are on the cusp of returns from coronavirus suspensions after La Liga and the Premier League announced mid-June restarts and Italy cleared Serie A to return June 20.

The decisions follow the May 16 return of Germany's Bundesliga. France's Ligue 1 has been canceled due to the pandemic.

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Spain's La Liga, which includes Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona, announced Friday it will resume its season on June 11. The league has been suspended since March 12. La Liga president Javier Tebas announced the move during a video conference with Spain's Marca. Tebas also said next season will begin Sept. 12.

"We'll restart, if God allows, on June 11," Tebas said. "We're hoping that Madrid and Barcelona pass into Phase 2 [of their lockdown de-escalation plan], which is where we can play.

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"There are more than 130 people at La Liga working so that everything can be done in a new way: Travel, organization, everything. We're prepared and the important thing will be the day we finish the league."

Premier League to restart June 17

Premier League shareholders agreed Thursday to the provisional restart date for the 2019-2020 season. All matches will take place behind closed doors, with no fans allowed in England's popular soccer stadiums. Premier League matches were suspended in mid-March.

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The Premier League announced two matches for June 17. Aston Villa will face Sheffield United and Manchester City will battle Arsenal in the first matches of the restart. A full slate of games will follow June 19.

All 92 remaining matches will broadcast live in the United Kingdom by Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and Amazon Prime.

"Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League ... But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority," Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said.

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"Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches."

Liverpool has an overwhelming 25-point lead over Manchester City for first place in the Premier League standings.

Serie A gets green light

Italy's Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said Thursday that Serie A can resume June 20. The 20-team league, which includes Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus, was suspended March 9 due to the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

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The announcement came after the Italian government reached an agreement during a conference call with the Italian Football Federation, the players' association and Serie A officials.

The league was expected to return June 13 before Italy extended its lockdown until June 14. Serie A was the first of Europe's soccer leagues to suspend its season. The Italian teams each have either 12 or 13 games left to play.

Spadafora also said games could be played in Italy before Serie A's return. He speculated that the Coppa Italia semifinals could be played on June 13 and the tournament final could be June 17.

Juventus has a one-point lead over Lazio for first place in the La Liga standings. Inter Milan, Atalanta and Roma are also in the top five.

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