July 22, 2020 / 4:09 AM / 18 days ago

Chinese Super League players all test negative for COVID-19 ahead of delayed season start

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Chinese Super League - Shanghai SIPG Training - Shanghai, China - July 14, 2020. Shanghai SIPG players take part in a training following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. REUTERS/Aly Song

(Reuters) - All Chinese Super League (CSL) players have tested negative for COVID-19 as the season prepares to kick off on Saturday after a five-month delay from its scheduled start, state news agency Xinhua reported.

A total of 1,870 individuals from the tournament’s two hubs - Suzhou near Shanghai and Dalian in the northeast of China - have undergone medical checks, with none of them testing positive for the disease, the report said.

Players and officials from the 16 participating teams will be confined to their hotel and parts of the stadiums and tests will be conducted once a week during the tournament, it added.

The CSL was originally scheduled to start on Feb. 22 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teams will play a round robin with the top four qualifying for an eight-team “championship” stage and the bottom four from each group going into a “relegation” phase.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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