Brazil’s Sao Paulo state announces football restart

Sao Paulo’s regional football championship will resume on July 22 as Brazil’s major competitions emerge from their coronavirus shutdowns, state governor Joao Doria has said.

Matches will be played behind closed doors and under strict sanitary protocols, Doria told a news conference on Wednesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

There are six matchdays remaining in the tournament, including two regular season rounds and the knockout phase. The final will be held on August 8, a day before the national Serie A is due to begin.

The Sao Paulo championship is considered one of Brazil’s strongest state competitions along with the Rio de Janeiro state league, which restarted on June 18.

All sport was suspended in Brazil in mid-March because of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 68,000 lives in South America’s biggest country.

Sao Paulo has been the worst-affected state with more than 16,000 COVID-19 fatalities and 341,000 confirmed cases of the virus.