July 17, 2020 / 5:12 PM / 18 days ago

Chilean clubs return to training but no date for restart set

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean soccer clubs resumed training on Thursday for the first time since March but the South American nation remains under a state of emergency and there is still no date for a resumption of competitive fixtures.

Players from clubs including Universidad Catolica, Colo-Colo and Universidad de Chile had medical tests and began physical work outs with a view to restarting a league that was suspended on March 16 due to the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic.

All of the players were tested for COVID-19 before being allowed to participate.

Local media have reported that the league may resume in August but local officials said no firm date had been set.

“There is no date for the return of professional football or any other sport, setting a date would be irresponsible,” said Santiago Governor Felipe Guevara.

“What there is is a need for professional sportsmen and women to return to some kind of physical activity.”

His comments came as the league restart in nearby Paraguay was called off on Friday after tests showed players in three of the competing sides were compromised by the virus.

So far Brazil is the only major South American country to allow professional football to resume, with the Rio de Janeiro state league restarting on June 18 and the Sao Paulo state championship scheduled to begin on July 22.

Chile has reported 326,539 coronavirus cases with 8,347 deaths.

Writing by Andrew Downie; additional reporting by Daniela Desantis in Asuncion; editing by Ken Ferris

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