Bayern Munich practices social distancing during training

(L-R) Bayern Munich’s Spain defender Alvaro Odriozola, Bayern Munich’s Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez, Bayern Munich’s French defender Lucas Hernandez walk at the field attend a training session of the German first division Bundesliga team FC Bayern Munich, at the team trainings area in Munich, southern Germany, on April 6, 2020. – Bayern Munich’s players resume training sessions in small groups amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich resumed training Monday for the first time since the German league was suspended due to coronavirus but the players were put through their paces in small groups and maintained social distancing measures.

Keeping at least 1.5 metres from each other, players including captain Manuel Neuer, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller trained together for the first time since the Bundesliga was halted on March 13.

“It was a very unusual feeling to hold a training session in small groups, but it was also nice to see the boys in person again,” said Neuer after Bayern had previously held training sessions online.

After arriving at staggered times to limit contact — with no greeting hugs or handshakes — the 21-man squad was split into five groups, each containing a maximum of five players.

When they changed, the players were kept four metres apart in the changing rooms at the club’s state-of-the-art training complex in southern Germany.

On the pitch, Bayern’s stars were careful to keep their distance from each other and there were no challenges or tackles.

Once training was over, the players left to shower at home, where they ate food provided by the club in lunch boxes.

Bayern asked fans to stay away from the Saebener Strasse complex, where hundreds of supporters usually turn up to see their heroes.

Other clubs also cautiously resumed training

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PFL looks at May reboot after attempts to start fresh scuttled by pandemic

Stakeholders of the Philippines Football League (PFL) were loo­king forward to a fresh start last month after a tough first three seasons.

A new sponsor has come on board in one of the world’s top airlines, Qatar Airways, a deal that the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) was hoping will also trigger more support for the struggling league.

But with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic prompting enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon, the league’s kickoff has now been moved tentatively to May. While the PFL stressed the importance of health and public safety, the postponement undoubtedly comes as another setback for the country’s professional league that was loo­king to gain more traction from fans and sponsors.

PFF president Mariano Araneta admits the league will have an even tougher time to attract more support from private companies because of the pandemic.

“The reality is sports is not a priority right now because of the current situation we are in,” Araneta said.

“We’re thankful that Qatar Airways is backing the PFL, but of course, we were hoping that we could attract more sponsors as we try to make the league stable and sustainable.”

Sportsradar, a sports data, media and integrity space, has also backed the league since its second season.

Araneta said the PFF also received subsidy from the sport’s governing body, Fifa, in the last three years to augment the league’s expenses. The PFF president said securing live television coverage for selected matches will remain a priority for the PFL.

From an initial cast of eight clubs, the league now has six clubs, including a guest team in the Azkals Development Team. INQ

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EPL suspended indefinitely, players to be asked for wage cut

A general view of the Etihad Stadium is pictured following the postponement of the day’s Premier League Manchester City versus Burnley football match due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, in Manchester on March 14, 2020. – Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has reportedly told the Premier League he does not believe the domestic football season will be completed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Premier League suspended all fixtures at an emergency meeting on Friday. Matches in the English Football League, FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship are also on hold. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

The English Premier League was suspended indefinitely on Friday following a meeting of its 20 clubs, who discussed financial painkiller measures including asking players to take a substantial pay cut during the coronavirus outbreak.

Having previously given a tentative — and improbable — return date of April 30, the world’s richest league said the season would not be resuming at the start of May and “will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so,” and only with the full support of government and medical guidance.

Teams have nine or 10 games left to play in the Premier League, with Liverpool — the leader by 25 points — still needing two more wins to clinch its first title since 1990. The FA Cup is at the quarterfinal stage.

“There is a combined objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played,” the league said, “enabling us to maintain the integrity of each competition.”

UEFA, in a letter signed by the European Club Association and the European Leagues, has urged members not to abandon their competitions. Halting leagues without approval from UEFA could see teams blocked from qualifying for the Champions League and Europa League

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