June 12, 2020 / 1:17 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Romanian league to resume, minus two virus-hit teams

(Add second coronavirus case at Botosani, details)

BUCHAREST, June 12 (Reuters) - Top-flight Romanian soccer is scheduled to resume on Saturday but without two of its teams, after coronavirus cases among their staff, professional league association LPF said on Friday.

With the competition already at the playoff stage, third-placed Universitatea Craiova had been due to host fifth-placed FC Botosani on Friday, but the match was cancelled after the visiting team’s doctor tested positive for COVID-19.

Later on Friday, Botosani said that a 17-year-old player, who was not included in the squad for the Universitatea game, also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

All 34 players and staff members, who made the 10-hour trip from Craiova, were isolated after returning to Botosani, the club president Valeriu Iftime said.

“Those who live alone are isolated at their homes and the others, who have a wife, children... went to a hotel where everyone was accommodated in a single room,” he said.

The match between Dinamo Bucharest and Chindia Targoviste had been postponed on Thursday after a Dinamo official also contracted the virus.

Both virus-hit teams will be out of action until epidemiological investigations are completed.

“We want the return of football but the health of the players our first priority,” said LPF general secretary Justin Stefan.

Romania’s football federation suspended all soccer in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March. As of Friday, the Black Sea state had 21,404 confirmed cases of the virus and 1,380 people have died.

Playoffs from among the bottom eight teams scheduled for Saturday will now be the first matches of the re-start, with clashes featuring those of the top six teams still authorised to play taking place on Sunday. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; editing by John Stonestreet and Christian Radnedge)

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