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International

Top Czech Soccer Leagues Set to Restart May 25

PRAGUE  — The top two soccer divisions in the Czech Republic plan to restart on May 25 as the government eases restrictions to contain the coronavirus, the leagues said on Monday.

The clubs must approve the plan at a meeting May 12 because the competitions would not be completed until July. Some sponsorship deals and player contracts expire by the end of June, when the leagues were originally scheduled to conclude.

Six rounds of games in the regular season and the playoffs remain in the first division. All players will be tested for the virus and all games will be without spectators.

The decision to restart is in line with UEFA's recommendation for leagues to "explore all possible options" to complete their seasons.

The organizers said government approval is needed because games would require the presence of some 130 people, including players, referees, club officials and others at the stadium.

The government said it will allow team sports competitions to restart on May 25 but it's not clear yet how many people can gather at stadiums.

The Czech Republic has not been as badly hit by the pandemic as some other European nations. Italy, Spain, France and Britain all have recorded more than 20,000 deaths. In the Czech Republic, 221 people have died of COVID-19 and more than 7,400 have tested positive.

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