The long-delayed 2020 Chinese Super League (CSL) is set to kick off on Saturday, even though new COVID-19 cases were found near one competition venue.
Dalian, where Fabio Cannavaro’s champions Guangzhou Evergrande will face FA Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua in the CSL season opener, saw two more confirmed cases on Thursday, said a spokesman from Dalian’s municipal government.
But the spokesman added that the resurgence of COVID-19 would not affect the start of the 2020 CSL season, which was originally slated to begin on February 22.
“The competition venue has been sealed off since 8 pm on July 17. So far everything is operating well there,” said the spokesman.
The 16-team league has been split into two groups – one based in Dalian and the other in Suzhou – to play the tournament-style first phase of the CSL season from July 25 to September 28 behind closed doors.
To minimize the risk of infection, all players, coaches, match officials and other staff involved in the CSL season have been required to stay inside a specific area during this period without any physical contact with the outside.
All people currently inside the sealed area have tested negative for COVID-19, and will be tested once a week until the first phase of this season is finished, the spokesman said.
The league organizers called for an emergency meeting on Wednesday night after being informed of a new COVID-19 case confirmed in Dalian that day.
It was decided at the meeting that CSL administrators would take stricter measures if there is increased risk of the virus spreading