Seville derby could lead Spanish soccer restart - La Liga chief

FILE PHOTO: La Liga President Javier Tebas poses during an interview with Reuters at the La Liga headquarters in Madrid

(Reuters) - La Liga president Javier Tebas has said he hopes a derby between Real Betis and Sevilla will kick the Spanish top-flight season back into action on June 11 after being paused for three months during the coronavirus pandemic.

"There is a possibility that there is a game on June 11, which would be the only match that night and perhaps there will be a tribute to all the people who have died (from the virus)," Tebas told Spanish television network Movistar on Sunday.

"I hope that date can be confirmed and we would like the game to be the Seville derby, kicking off at 10pm."

Spain is set to join Germany and Portugal in resuming matches without spectators after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday that the league would be allowed to start up again from June along with other sectors of the economy.

All organised soccer in Spain was suspended indefinitely on March 12. Spain is among the countries hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, with 235,290 infections and 28,752 people dying.

All non-professional leagues have been cancelled although clubs in the top two divisions have resumed training in groups of up to 10 players.

Tebas said the next objective was to progress to full training.

"Right now that's our main goal, and if we can achieve that then we can start to bring forward the return of the competition. Our aim is to be able to announce the first four rounds of fixtures next week," he added.

"The government's announcement took us by surprise but it shows that professional football is very important to this country."

Champions Barcelona lead La Liga by two points over nearest challengers Real Madrid with 11 matches remaining.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Grant McCool)