Athletic Club Players Will Begin Individual Training At Lezama On Sunday
When the Athletic players left the field after training on 13 March the plan was for everyone to return to Lezama four days later. That didn’t happen. Instead, the pandemic brought all football to a halt, but now there is hope that the season will return. Having undergone testing on Thursday the team will be back on the field after a 58-day absence.
Athletic announced on Friday that players will return to Lezama on Sunday to begin individual training. Players must first be cleared with test results expected to be available on Saturday. During this first phase players must shower and change at home in addition to working out separately. The focus will be on conditioning and after a period of time small groups will be allowed to train together followed by the entire squad.
La Liga plans to resume matches on 20 June with the season ending on 26 July. Games will be played every Wednesday/Thursday and Saturday/Sunday, but there will be a few changes to the format for player safety. La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation have agreed to allow five substitutes during games, albeit with still only three stoppages, as well as a 23-player match day squad instead of the usual 18. Two water breaks will be given as well.
Once football returns Gaizka Garitano’s team will have eleven matches remaining to fight for a top seven finish. The Lions currently sit tenth in the table and five points off of seventh placed Valencia. Athletic must finish in the top seven to qualify for Europe.