June 25, 2020 / 2:55 PM / a month ago

Soccer: Coronavirus outbreak at Orenburg deals Russian league new setback

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian top-flight team Orenburg said on Thursday six of its players and two team staff had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, in a fresh setback for the Russian Premier League that resumed play last week.

Orenburg, who face Krasnodar on Saturday, did not say which of their players had caught the virus, but that the whole squad had tested negative ahead of Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Lokomotiv Moscow.

The Russian top flight has got off to a faltering start since it resumed matches after the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to stop play.

Rostov were routed 10-1 on Friday by relegation-threatened Sochi after they were forced to field youth players because their whole first-team squad was in quarantine.

Another game between Dinamo Moscow and Krasnodar planned for last Sunday was pushed back to next month because the former club’s players had fallen ill.

The Premier League said Orenburg’s sick players had been isolated and that local authorities in the region near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan were working to establish how they caught the virus.

Russia, which has a population of around 145 million, has reported the world’s third largest tally of coronavirus infections. Officials began rapidly easing lockdown restrictions earlier this month.

Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Toby Davis

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