La Liga teams cleared for group training

Barcelona's Lionel Messi will now be allowed to resume train with some of his teammates

Spanish soccer has edged closer to returning after a long pause due to the coronavirus pandemic after La Liga president Javier Tebas confirmed clubs in the top two divisions will begin training in groups from Monday.

Cities like Madrid and Barcelona have not been allowed to loosen confinement measures like most of the country has done.

However, teams including Real Madrid and Barcelona have been given the green light to move into the second phase of training.

The league has told clubs that on Monday all players can start small group sessions regardless of the lockdown phase in their regions.

Players had only been allowed to train individually across Spain until now.

The Spanish government has been gradually easing lockdown restrictions that had been in place since mid-March because of the pandemic, with different levels of clearances from region to region.

Teams in Madrid and Barcelona theoretically would not be allowed to start training in groups if the government hadn't created exceptions.

"It's a good thing because it allows all teams to practice in a similar way," Spanish league president Tebas told league broadcaster Movistar on Sunday.

"It's important for all the teams to be able to start on an equal footing."

Teams in regions with tighter restrictions will be allowed to practice with 10 players in the same session, while clubs in areas with fewer restrictions can use up to 14 players.

The next training phase will allow for clubs to start full-squad sessions.

Players, club employees and everyone else involved in the training sessions have to be tested daily for COVID-19.

Tebas had said he hoped for the league to resume on June 12, with games in empty stadiums, but on Sunday he emphasised that it will be up to local authorities to decide when the league can actually restart.

"We have to wait for what they tell us," he said.

The Bundesliga this weekend became the first major soccer league to resume, and Tebas said he expects the Spanish league's eventual return to competition to look very similar.

"We have congratulated the Bundesliga," Tebas said.

"They put in a lot of effort into this. It's an example to follow."