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Russia’s football chief says Russian Premier League’s new season may start in August

Earlier on Wednesday, the Union of European Football Associations made a decision to allow completion of national tournaments

MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. The start of the new football season of the Russian Premier League (RPL) may be moved either to August or September, Alexander Dyukov, the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said in a statement provided to TASS by the union’s press service on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the RFU Executive Committee extended the postponement of all football matches in Russia, including RPL matches, until May 31 over the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus. The 2019/2020 RPL season started last year on July 12.

"This step is logical and complies with measures undertaken by the government of our country," Dyukov said. "Therefore, taking into account the completion of the championship, the new season will start either in mid-August or mid-September."

Earlier on Wednesday, the Union of European Football Associations made a decision to allow completion of national tournaments.

"The RFU fully supports the UEFA decision, made today after consultations with national associations," Dyukov said. "As of today the basic variant is that all tournaments will be completed. The epidemiological situation certainly differs from country to country and as of now it is proposed to resume national tournaments in early or late June."

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. To date, more than 912,090 people have been infected worldwide and over 45,540 deaths have been reported.

So far, a total of 2,777 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 190 patients having recovered from the illness. The country’s latest data indicates 24 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public informed about the coronavirus situation.