05/30 10:18 CDT The Latest: Ex-minister says French league canceled too soon
The Latest: Ex-minister says French league canceled too soon
By The Associated Press
The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the
France's former sports minister says the government was too hasty in calling
off soccer leagues this season.
The French leagues were canceled after Prime Minister douard Philippe said in
late April they could not resume because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Patrick Kanner, sports minister from 2014-17, thinks the leagues were pressured
Speaking on France Inter radio on Saturday, Kanner said "they were not given
any choice" and that "maybe we could have resumed playing in June."
Kanner added that "there were healthy protocols in place" in case the leagues
could resume "of course without fans" at the stadiums.
France is the only one of Europe's five major soccer leagues to cancel its
Games in Germany have already resumed and they are set to do so in England,
Italy and Spain next month.
The South African government maintained a ban on all contact sports
competitions on Saturday because of the coronavirus, meaning the country's
professional rugby teams and its world champion Springboks will remain out of
The announcement by sports minister Nathi Mthethwa came as South Africa
prepares to further ease lockdown on Monday and open up most of its economy as
part of a phased relaxation of restrictions.
Professional non-contact sports competitions will be allowed in some regions
and Mthethwa gave permission for teams, including those in rugby, to resume
training. But only if protocols are in place to minimize the chances of
transmission of COVID-19. All teams have 14 days to submit detailed plans on
their protocols for approval before they can train, the minister said.
Conditions include the mandatory screening of athletes.
South Africa Rugby CEO Jurie Roux welcomed the move as "an opportunity for our
players to enhance their lockdown training regimes by increasing their fitness
work for an eventual return to play." He added he would seek clarification over
whether full-contact training would be allowed.
Premier League clubs with only 15 fit players are still likely to have to play
matches if the season resumes as planned next month during the coronavirus
West Ham vice chair Karren Brady has disclosed new details of Thursday's
conference call of clubs when they agreed to restart the season on June 17,
pending government approval.
The season was suspended in March after positive COVID-19 cases at Arsenal and
Chelsea forced the squads into self-isolation.
Brady said the latest virtual meeting of club executives featured a long
discussion about "what constitutes having a team fit enough to compete in the
games left to play."
Most teams, including West Ham, have nine games remaining.
"There are obvious and genuine concerns about what happens to your match
results if your club has a number of players testing positive for coronavirus,
or is in self-isolation, and as a result you simply cannot field your usual or
strongest starting XI," Brady wrote in a column in Saturday's editions of "The
"Well, as long as you have 15 fit players (including one goalkeeper) made up
from either your 25-man squad list or from your under-21s you will be deemed to
have a team fit enough to fulfill the fixture."
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