May 21, 2020 / 5:22 AM / 6 days ago

Portugal approves nine stadiums for league restart

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 32 Second Leg - FC Porto v Bayer Leverkusen - Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal - February 27, 2020 General view outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Miguel Vidal/File Photo

LISBON (Reuters) - Nine stadiums have passed inspections and been declared ready to host matches when the Portuguese league restarts after the coronavirus stoppage, the league said on Wednesday.

A further six need improvements and would be subject to a second inspection by the government’s DGS health directorate, the league added.

The home grounds of Vitoria Guimaraes, Tondela, Porto, Sporting, Benfica, Maritimo, Braga and Portimonense were given the green light along with the national team training centre in Lisbon which will also be used for some matches.

The DGS said there would have to be “a number of corrections” to the stadiums of Vitoria Setubal, Boavista, Desportivo das Aves, Rio Ave, Gil Vicente and Pacos de Ferreira.

The four other teams in the 18-team league did not put their grounds up for inspection.

The DGS has said that the minimum possible number of stadiums should be used although this could prove a stumbling block as several clubs have already complained about not being able to play at their home stadiums.

Ten rounds of matches will have to be played between June 4 and July 26 to complete the season which has turned into a two-horse race between Porto, who lead with 60 points, and Benfica, who are one point behind.

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis

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