May 6, 2020 / 9:49 AM / 23 days ago

Bulgarian league could resume on June 5 or June 12, minister says

SOFIA (Reuters) - The final part of Bulgaria’s top-flight soccer season could be played from June 5 or June 12, Sports Minister Krasen Kralev said, as the Balkan country begins to ease its lockdown to kick-start an ailing economy.

Soccer has ground to a halt in all major leagues in Europe and none have yet to resume. European soccer’s governing body UEFA has set a May 25 deadline for leagues to outline their plans to re-start.

Kralev said he had submitted a detailed plan, developed by the Bulgarian Football Union, to the health minister on Tuesday with final approval expected in the coming days.

“Our desire is for team training to restart on May 15 and the championship to resume in June,” Kralev told bTV television late on Tuesday. “The league could resume on June 5 or June 12 as matches will be played without spectators, of course.”

On Tuesday two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that soccer clubs will resume training within a few days for the first time since the coronavirus stoppage.

The Bulgarian league has been on hold since March 13 as part of countrywide lockdown measures which have begun to be eased with athletes allowed to conduct individual outdoor training.

Ludogorets, which has won the title for the past eight seasons, topped the 14-team league with 55 points from 23 matches, nine more than Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Levski Sofia and CSKA Sofia.

The BFU has yet to decide in what format the championship will resume. Previously it involved playoffs between the top and bottom teams after 26 regular matches.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, Editing by William Maclean

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