Colombia approves football restart post COVID-19 hiatus

Colombia’s professional football competitions have been authorised to restart after more than five months of inactivity because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Minister Fernando Ruiz confirmed the decision in a tweet late Thursday, without specifying a date for the return of the national men’s and women’s leagues, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I have just signed the administrative act that authorises the start of … training and football competition with the signatures of the interior and sports ministers,” Ruiz said.

Clubs have been allowed to train in small groups under strict biosafety protocols since July but officials have until now been loath to discuss the restart of competitions amid surging COVID-19 cases.

Colombia has the world’s eighth-highest number of coronavirus infections, with more than 513,000 confirmed cases. Over 16,000 people have died from the virus in the country, according to health ministry figures.