GREECE: The Greek government Tuesday gave the go-ahead for the Europa League match between PAOK and Dutch side PSV Eindhoven to be played in Thessaloniki despite a strict coronavirus lockdown in the northern city.
PAOK assured government health officials that Thursday’s Group E contest will be conducted “with all strict health protocols”.
The government announced a month-long lockdown which began Tuesday in its second largest city to try to contain a spike in coronavirus cases.
Everything will remain closed in Thessaloniki, except schools, and those wanting to leave their homes will have to seek permission via text message. A public curfew also applies from 9pm to 5am.
All other sports events have been postponed, including the Super League match between Aris and AEK Athens scheduled for Sunday.
All non-essential flights to and from Thessaloniki international airport have been suspended.
Meanwhile, the Greek football federation has suspended Super League 2 and third-division Football League as well as amateur league contests until further notice.
“This will lead to the complete financial and professional destruction of the clubs and our members, but also to the thousands of other families, including all the employees in the clubs,” the professional football players’ association said.
The association said that up to now 46 teams with some 1,000 players had resumed training since May with more than 200 official matches held, including those of national teams.
“As a result, more than 4,000 training sessions have taken place, with only 38 positive cases of coronavirus found, of which 20 were limited to three specific teams. This fact clearly proves, on the one hand, that there was a minimal spread of the virus in the field of football, and on the other hand, that the health protocol was implemented accurately and effectively,” the association said in a statement.
The association requests from the government that the two professional categories be excluded from the measures and that they be allowed to compete normally under the condition of strict adherence to the health protocol, “which has undoubtedly proved its effectiveness”. – AFP