Coronavirus: Russian Premier League returning on June 21

By Sports Desk May 15, 2020

The Russian Premier League will become the latest football competition to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic on June 21.

Russia's top-flight campaign briefly continued as other elite leagues were paused due to the crisis, before the season was halted on March 17.

An initial April 10 suspension was then extended to May 31, with now more than 260,000 cases of COVID-19 in the country.

However, with Germany's Bundesliga returning this weekend and restarts in Portugal, Italy and potentially England and Spain to follow, the Russian Football Union has agreed a resumption date.

The remaining eight rounds of fixtures will be played behind closed doors until July 22, with four midweek dates scheduled.

Relegation and promotion remain, but there will be no play-offs at the foot of the table, with the bottom two teams replaced by the top two in the second tier if they meet the licensing criteria.

The Russian Cup will also continue, leading to a July 25 final.

Russian Premier League president Sergey Pryadkin said: "I am glad we are resuming the season at the optimal date for the current situation - in the penultimate week of June.

"This will allow all players to prepare for their return to the pitch and play the season in a short but reasonable time.

"We all have a lot of work to do, such as returning players and coaches from abroad, and preparing for matches under difficult conditions.

"We will do our best to ensure the safety of all competitors."

Defending champions Zenit boast a nine-point lead over Lokomotiv Moscow and Krasnodar at the top of the league ahead of the restart.

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