A Lionel Messi-led Barcelona were leading Real Madrid by two points when the league came to a halt. File
Professional football in Spain will remain suspended until further notice to limit the spread of coronavirus, La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced on Monday.
La Liga and the RFEF said matches in the top two divisions will only resume when the Spanish government decide there is no longer any health risk.
Fixtures had previously been suspended for two weeks from March 12 but there was no expectation they would restart this weekend, with the crisis continuing to escalate.
The total number of deaths due to coronavirus in Spain passed 2,000 on Sunday, making it the third worst-affected country in the world, behind only Italy and China.
The Spanish government declared a state of alarm on March 14 and intends to extend the lockdown imposed on the population until at least April 11.
A joint statement from La Liga and the RFEF read: “The Monitoring Commission established by the current RFEF-La Liga Coordination Agreement agrees the suspension of professional football competitions until the authorities of the Government of Spain and the General Administration of the State consider they can be resumed without creating any health risk.”
When the league was halted due to the out break of the pandemic, a Lionel Messi-led Barcelona were leading with 58 points in their kitty. The league looked set to be heading towards an exciting finish as their arch-rivals Real Madird, who are just two points adrift, were high on their heels.
Meanwhile, former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz, who was hospitalised with coronavirus, died at the age of 76, his son announced. Sanz was in charge of the Spanish giants from 1995-2000, overseeing two Champions League titles.
“My father has just passed away. He did not deserve this ending and in this way,” tweeted his son, Lorenzo Sanz junior.
“One of the best, bravest and hardest-working people I have ever seen. His family and Real Madrid were his passions.”
Three days ago, Sanz Jr., a former professional basketball player, said that his father had been admitted to a Madrid hospital after suffering the symptoms of the coronavirus which has killed more than 1,320 people in Spain.
Sanz claimed a place on the Real Madrid board in the mid-1980s, when the president was Ramon Mendoza. He replaced Mendoza as president in 1995.
With Jupp Heynckes as coach and star players such as Davor Suker, Roberto Carlos, Clarence Seedorf, Fernando Hierro and Raul, Real won the Champions League in 1998 by beating Juventus in the final.
It was their seventh European Cup but first in 32 years. Two years later, in Paris, Real claimed an eighth by beating Valencia in the final.
However, that same year, Sanz was ousted as president by Florentino Perez, who opened a new era at the club, adding five more Champions Leagues in two decades.
Current club captain and Spanish international Sergio Ramos, who with teammates is in quarantine after one of the club’s basketball players tested positive for the virus, hailed Sanz.
“Very sad day for Real Madrid. Lorenzo Sanz connected yesterday and today with two numbers for history — 7 and 8,” tweeted Ramos in reference to the key Champions League titles.
“His death saddens us even more in these difficult days in which we find ourselves. My deep condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace.”
Despite offseason fireworks around Lionel Messi’s future, the Spanish soccer league’s new season features a low-profile opening weekend as top teams are still resting from their recent European competitions.
The current campaign is still suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, although La Liga is targeting a return on June 11 with the Seville derby between Real Betis and Sevilla.
Barcelona might have their eighth title in 11 years all-but sewn up but, with six games left to play, La Liga is far from finished.
India and Pakistan are set to renew rivalry in a spine-tingling and the most anticipated clash of the T20 World Cup in Dubai on Sunday.
Namibia reached the Twenty20 World Cup second round for the first time on Friday when they defeated Ireland by eight wickets.World number 19 Namibia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, chased down their modest target of 126 with skipper Gerhard Erasmus making an unbeaten 53.
Fans from both the nations have shown immense interest in watching Sunday's game in Dubai as tickets for the key contest were sold out hours after they went on sale early this month.
Ireland and Namibia face off in a knockout clash of the T20 World Cup with a Super 12 berth at stake in Sharjah on Friday. The match will mark the exit for the loser while winners will punch a ticket for the Super 12, which gets under way on Oct.23.