Austrian Bundesliga leaders LASK Linz, who you may recognise from this season’s Europa League, have been handed a six-point deduction for breaking coronavirus training rules.
The deduction moves them down into second place behind Red Bull Salzburg in Austria’s top flight, with three points to make up. The Austrian FA have also fined the club €75,000.
According to Dutch news agency AD, LASK were found guilty of breaching rules brought in to protect the players in Austria during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clubs were instructed to only return to training if they were in small groups, training at an adequate distance from each other.
Die Schwarz-Weißen however, have been caught on video in full contact training. The club, managed by former Crystal Palace defender Valérien Ismaël, have apologised for breaching the rules, claiming that all of their players displayed negative tests prior to the sessions commencing. This wasn’t enough for the Austrian FA however, and their investigation may cost the Linz club their first Bundesliga since 1964/65.
LASK were beaten at home 5-0 by Man Utd in the Europa League quarter final, behind closed doors on 12 March, with the second leg set to be played when European competitions are cleared to restart. The Red Devils put in a dominant performance against the Austrians, with Odion Ighalo and Mason Greenwood amongst the goals that night.
The Austrian Bundesliga is due to return on 3 June, with LASK playing Hartberg, hoping they can begin to make back their six-point deduction. Austrian football on the whole though, gets back underway on 29 May with the cup final between Red Bull Salzburg and Austria Lustenau.
They are set to follow the footsteps of the German Bundesliga, who saw their training and league begin before any other European league restarted, as they began with fixtures on 16 May. 90min reported on the Premier League’s announcement to restart contact training after a unanimous agreement between all 20 clubs.
After the return of contact training, the Premier League season is set to recommence on 17 June with Arsenal travelling to Man City. There have since been dates set for restarts in Spain and Italy, with La Liga to recommence on 11 June and Serie A on 20 June.
This means that four of Europe’s top five leagues will be completed, with France being the only exception after they crowned PSG as champions and cancelled Ligue 1 on 28 April.