Shanghai – The coronavirus-delayed Chinese Super League (CSL) season is scheduled to begin in late June or early July, a club chairman says.
Suspended leagues across the world, including in Europe, will be watching the CSL with interest as an indicator of the challenges they face in relaunching their own competitions.
The CSL was originally scheduled to kick off on Feb. 22 but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 2.33 million and killed about 160,000 people worldwide.
China, where the coronavirus emerged late last year, has reported 82,735 cases and 4,632 deaths.
"Based on the assessment of the current situation, the new season will start at the end of June or beginning of July," said Guangzhou R&F chairman Huang Shenghua, according to state media.
Huang said that the season will be able to take place in full with each team playing its full schedule of 30 matches.
The media reports did not indicate whether a formal announcement was expected from the Chinese Football Association.
China says that it has curbed coronavirus at home but is now concerned about a second wave of imported infections from people entering the country from overseas.
Marouane Fellaini, the former Manchester United midfielder, is the only known coronavirus case in the CSL.
He was released from the hospital last week and is under further observation, although he was not seriously ill.
CSL side Wuhan Zall, which travelled to Spain in January for a winter training camp, returned to the city over the weekend after landing last month in Shenzhen, where players and staff were quarantined before being discharged from hospital.