Bulgarian soccer league to resume in June

Bulgaria's top division will resume on June 5 without spectators in a shortened format, which would allow the league season to be completed within a month, the country's football union (BFU) said on Thursday.

The decision means the top tier comprising 14 clubs will play another two rounds of matches to complete the regular season, while championship and relegation playoffs requiring an additional 10 rounds have been reduced to five.

Bulgaria's league has been on hold since March 13 as part of countrywide after COVID-19 lockdown measures which have begun to be eased with athletes allowed to conduct individual outdoor training.

Ludogorets, who have won the title for the past eight seasons, topped the standings with 55 points from 23 matches, nine more than Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Levski Sofia and CSKA Sofia.

The league season will end on July 11 while the Bulgarian Cup final will take place on July 4, the BFU said.

The following campaign will start on July 25, three days after the domestic Super Cup, the traditional pre-season curtain raiser.

In the Netherlands, all sporting events, including the top-flight Dutch soccer league, will have to take place without fans until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said organised sport could resume from September 1, but de Jonge said mass gatherings would not be allowed until a vaccine had been developed.

Meanwhile, Danish and Norwegian professional soccer teams can restart full training immediately after the two Scandinavian countries opted to ease lockdown restrictions on Thursday.

The Norwegian league can begin playing matches without fans from June 16, the government announced. The top flight in Norway was due to begin in April but the start was postponed due to coronavirus.

The Danish league said in a statement it would decide in the coming days when matches behind closed doors could be played, with officials hoping that a resumption on May 29 will be possible.

The league in Denmark has been suspended for two months.