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Sport

Hungarian federation says season to resume on May 23

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The Hungarian professional football season, suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak since mid-March, will re-start on May 23 with two Cup ties and a league game, the country’s football federation (MLSZ) said.

However, the lower divisions would conclude immediately as would all futsal, amateur and junior league seasons, it said in a statement.

The announcement means that Hungary is one of a handful of European countries to confirm a start date for the resumption of the season alongside Poland (May 29) and Portugal (May 30).

The country has so far reported 3,051 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 351 deaths, a relatively modest number due mainly to an early and strict lockdown.

The MLSZ said that “all matches (will be) subject to strict conditions to safeguard the health of all concerned” and would be played behind closed doors.

“The MLSZ’s medical committee has drawn up a detailed health and examination protocol, according to which the teams will be regularly checked after an initial, comprehensive medical examination,” it added.

The season would restart with the MTK v Honved and Mezokovesd-Zsory v Fenervar Cup semi-final first leg ties on May 23, with the second legs three days later.

On those days, Ferencvarous would also play outstanding league games against Ujpest and Debrecen.

The first full matchday in the league will be May 30 with the 26th round of fixtures. The eight remaining rounds of matches will have to be finished by the end of June, the federation added.

In women’s football, only the matches which affect qualification for next season’s UEFA women’s Champions League would be played. There will be no league winner, final standings or relegation, it said.

The MLSZ said that in the second and third tiers of the men’s league, the “promoted and relegated clubs will be decided based upon the league table as it stands now at the point of the prematurely concluded season” and the same process would decide promotion to the third division.

All leagues below that would end immediately with no official outcomes.

Writing by Brian Homewood, Editing by William Maclean

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