Russian, Czech football leagues set return dates as Argentine season cancelled

Organisers of football’s Russian Premier League have outlined plans to resume the season on either June 21 or June 28 as it looks to complete the final eight match days of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Russian Premier League has been suspended since March 17 due to the COVID-19 outbreak and at the start of the month it was announced that the season would not return until June 1 at the earliest.

UEFA, football’s European governing body, has recommended that domestic seasons be completed by August 2 to determine the participants of the Champions League and Europa League for the 2020-21 season.

The Russian Premier League has now offered clubs two possible return dates in June. The June 21 return date would start with one round per week for the first two matches followed by five match days on a twice-weekly basis. The June 28 option would see one round of fixtures scheduled for the first match day followed by seven rounds on a twice-weekly basis.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) will also make a decision on the possible resumption of the Russian Cup.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Czech First League is hopeful of resuming its season on May 25, with clubs set to meet on May 12 to approve the plan.

The league still needs to play six more rounds of regular-season fixtures and the end-of-season play-offs, with the campaign having originally been scheduled to finish in June.

Under the proposal, matches would be played behind closed doors and all players would be tested for COVID-19. The proposal would require government approval as up to 130 people would need to be situated in stadia when matches resume.

In South America, the Argentine Football Association has ended its season and no clubs will be relegated from the top-tier Superliga. The 24-team Copa Superliga knockout tournament has also been cancelled as a result of the suspension, although only one round of matches had been played so far.

AFA president Claudio Tapia said the top-tier Superliga would be expanded in the absence of relegation over the next two seasons. The league’s current format sees relegation determined by a ‘promedios’ system, which calculates points-per-game averages over a three-year period.

Tapia confirmed that this system would return in 2022, adding that the decision is designed to provide financial security for clubs.

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