MADRID: La Liga could return to action as early as next month, its president Javier Tebas said on Tuesday, as the league awaits a chance to restart following the coronavirus shutdown.

Tebas also warned Spanish clubs could lose as much as one billion euros ($1.1 billion) if the season is not completed, pushing football bosses in the country to search for a late finish to the current campaign.

“The different scenarios we have been looking at with UEFA to go back to competing are most probably starting on the May 29 June 6-7 or June 28,” Tebas told reporters via video link.

“We’re not just looking at what happens in Spain... the job is to get all our calendars [in Europe] in line so all the competitions are able to finish together.”

However Tebas said no team training could take place until after the state of emergency ends in Spain — currently set until April 26.

Should that end date be pushed back the chances of restarting in May would likely vanish.

He also said the league would not consider declaring the season null and void until it was physically impossible to play the remaining 11 rounds of games, adding that such a scenario would cost Spanish football 1 billion euros.

Completing the season with matches without spectators would lead to a loss of about 300 million euros, he added.

“We have studied the economic effects of not completing the season, but on a sporting level we aren’t even considering it,” Tebas said.

“We won’t have to think about that for a few weeks. We won’t start that debate now as it would be sterile and only generate conflicts of interest such as we have seen in other countries. The biggest leagues should not even consider this for now.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed nearly 14,000 people in Spain, the world’s second hardest-hit country after Italy in terms of deaths.

Tebas, however, warned against relaxing UEFA’s financial fair play rules as clubs struggle to cope with a loss of income due to the pause in competitions.

Tebas has long talked of the need for the need to uphold the financial fair play rules, which oblige clubs to break even and are intended to prevent them from receiving unlimited amounts of money through inflated sponsorship deals.

English champions Manchester City were slapped with a two-year ban from European competition in February for flouting the regulations, although the European Club Association (ECA) has said the break-even rules could be relaxed due to the coronavirus situation.

Tebas expressed his opposition to such a proposal, however, citing the fact that Spanish clubs are owed 350 million euros in transfer fees, due to be paid by September 30.

“It’s important these obligations are met, because if these European clubs don’t pay Spanish clubs the Spanish clubs may not be able to pay other European clubs,” Tebas said.

“That’s why it’s important for the regulations to continue as they are and no-one tries to make the most of the circumstances and not pay.”

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2020