COVID-19: Ecuadorian football eyes mid-August return

Ecuador’s top football division is on track to resume in mid-August after its coronavirus shutdown, according to a senior official.

The government’s Emergency Operations Committee (COE) has approved new sanitary requirements but remains watchful of the epidemic curve, which is still trending upward in many cities, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The protocol has already been approved. The new tentative date, depending on the levels of contagion, for football’s restart is August 15,” newspaper El Comercio quoted COE committee member Juan Zapata as saying.

COE had slated July 29 for football’s return, however those plans were scrapped because of the ongoing health emergency, particularly in capital Quito and in Cuenca, Ecuador’s third-largest city.

Zapata said venues in the Liga Pro – as the first division is known – could be limited to cities where infection rates remain low or have fallen significantly.

All organised sport was suspended in the nation on March 15, four days after the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Ecuador has more than 82,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which over 5,500 have been fatal.