Bogota, April 22 (IANS) The Colombian government has ruled out the prospect of restarting the country's major football competitions in the near term, citing ongoing risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Sports competitions at all levels have been suspended in Colombia since March 13 as part of strict lockdown measures imposed by President Ivan Duque, reports Xinhua news agency.
In recent days, officials from the country's principal football league, Dimayor, have asked the government for permission to resume national competitions, warning that many clubs face financial ruin if the stoppage continues.
“It would be irresponsible to say that we can return to football, even behind closed doors, given that there is no way to guarantee that the players will be protected from the coronavirus,” Duque told reporters on Tuesday.
“As much as Dimayor believes that it's possible, I have to prioritize the health of the players,” he added.
Earlier, sports minister Ernesto Luceno said football was unlikely to restart until July or August, in a best-case scenario.
Colombia has 4,149 confirmed coronavirus cases, of which 196 have been fatal, according to the latest health ministry figures.