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Coronavirus: Spanish FA offers €500m bailout to La Liga, Segunda clubs

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The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has announced a €500 million bailout to the country's first and second division clubs to cope with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

La Liga was suspended on March 12 and there is no date given to resume all competitions. The stoppage in play has prevented clubs from collecting TV revenue and brought a halt to match-day income. 

"We are willing to lend a hand to professional football," Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales told a news conference on Wednesday.

"We want to offer La Liga the possibility to sit down and get the financing for first and second division clubs. We have spoken to several banks and are able to offer a credit line worth €500m to first and second division clubs that are struggling and that can be repaid in the next four, five or six years."

La Liga chief Javier Tebas had given May 18 as the last date La Liga can resume to be completed before June 30, however, Rubiales said it is highly unlikely the league will end by then.

"We think it's practically impossible to resume competitions at the beginning of May," Rubiales said. "We have temporary hospitals being put up in Madrid and the military emergency units [UME] are out on the streets.

"We've always stated that the competitions should be completed, whenever that's possible. First is health, then to complete the season."

Rubiales disagreeing with Tebas is nothing new. The two have been at odds since 2013, when Rubiales was at the helm of the Spanish Players' Union [AFE].

Since his election as RFEF chief on May 2018, every decision in Spanish football has been accompanied with a dispute, some which have had to be resolved in court. 

Tebas has failed in his attempt to stage a La Liga game in the United States with Rubiales adamant that it will not happen. Tebas, meanwhile, cited the Federation's decision to have the Spanish Supercopa in Saudi Arabia as an act of "hypocrisy."

Rubiales recently labelled La Liga's move to give testing coronavirus kits to clubs as "irresponsible and unpatriotic."

Spain's death toll due to the coronavirus has reached 3,434 while the number of cases registered in the country rose to 47,610 as of March 25.

"We think it's practically impossible to resume competitions at the beginning of May," Rubiales added. "We have temporary hospitals being put up in Madrid and the military emergency units UME) are out on the streets.

"We've always stated that the competitions should be completed, whenever that's possible. First is health, then to complete the season."

There are 11 rounds of games remaining in La Liga and Rubiales believes it's most likely that when the competition resumes, it will go beyond June 30, the date when players' contracts expires.

"Whether the contracts are extended [beyond June 30] or not, all the clubs will be in the same position," Rubiales said.

Rubiales has quashed speculation that teams will have to play every 48 hours once play resumes.

"It's not viable," he said. "We need to give clubs the necessary tools to recover those games when the time comes but not at all costs. Health is above everything. All those that have played football know that you cannot play every 48 hours, it's inhumane. Footballers are not machines."

The Spanish FA has requested its medical team to provide a detailed report of when and how teams can resume activity, including information on what would happen to a team if a player were to get infected with the coronavirus once the competitions resume.

"I honestly have no answer for that," Rubiales said. "We are very worried about this and that is why we are wary. It's very important to have all the scientific reports in order to decide as to when it would be possible to resume."

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