VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s Bundesliga, the country’s professional soccer league, will resume on June 2 and hold matches every three days to clear the backlog built up during the coronavirus shutdown, the league’s Chief Executive Christian Ebenbauer said on Wednesday.
The government on Tuesday gave the green light for the league to resume without spectators and after a meeting of clubs on Wednesday Ebenbauer said it would restart four days after the Austrian Cup final on May 29.
“Today is a good day,” Ebenbauer said in a video statement. “I am glad to announce that under the current status quo and if things remain as they are soccer will return to the pitch on May 29.
“We are proud and aware of the responsibility. There is no compromising health,” he added. “The challenges remain, both organisational and financial. Matches without fans are an emergency plan and no future solution for football.”
The top-flight teams returned to training on April 20, with players divided into small groups. Full training is due to resume on May 15, and players will be tested before each match.
To get through the fixture schedule by the first week of July, matches will be held every three days.
There are still 10 rounds to play in the championship where the 12 teams have been split into two groups — the championship group, consisting of teams who finished the regular season in the top six, and the relegation group, involving the bottom six teams.
LASK Linz, aiming to win the title for only the second time and the first since 1965, lead the championship group by three points from titleholders Salzburg with Rapid Vienna a further four behind. St Poelten are bottom of the relegation group.
Salzburg face second division Austria Lustenau in the Cup final.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy, additional reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Ed Osmond)