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The ACB match schedule becomes a sudoku game

The wave of the omicron variant of the coronavirus swept the ACB League's quadrant of matches in the final stretch of 2021. The challenge is to relocate in this month the ramshackle calendar due to the accumulation of outbreaks in the teams, if the pandemic offers truce. At the moment, this Tuesday Unicaja-Zaragoza recovers from matchday 16 (20.30); and the Manresa-Real Madrid, of the 17 (21.00) is ahead. A true sudoku game in which the competition will try to reschedule the 15 postponed games (one on Matchday 11, another on Matchday 14, five on Matchday 15 and eight on Matchday 16) before January 30, to close the cut-off of the teams that They will participate in the Cup, which will be held in Granada from February 17 to 20.

In the Assembly on December 27, in the midst of an upturn in infections, the ACB clubs unanimously agreed to extend this deadline for the closing of the first round, thus facilitating the recovery of postponed matches. “If as of January 30 all the scheduled matches could not have been played, the percentage of victories and defeats on that date will be taken as the main classification criterion for the Cup, computing only the matches corresponding to the first round,” the statement read. of the ACB, explaining a circumstance that the clubs already had to resort to last season.

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The ACB action protocol has been adapted to the evolution of the pandemic. From the initial suspension of matches after accumulating three positives in a team, to the endorsement of the decision of the competent health authorities (autonomous communities) when they decree an outbreak. But, in the last update, in order not to depend on the official bodies, it was established that a match would be suspended as long as a team did not have at least nine suitable players, without COVID, of the 12 of the first team (a calculation outside of the injured). Two PCR negatives allow the affected team to return to discipline, regardless of the days they have been absent. A rule to ensure both the health of the athletes and the competitiveness of the league.

Prudence has led in recent weeks to delay the schedule of several games after the detection of a positive in the teams, to allow for the performance of PCR tests to support the entire squad, with the flexibility of the fans and the operator. television to square everything. But the accumulation of outbreaks forced the ACB to decree the complete suspension of matchday 16, including the Madrid-Barça scheduled for last Sunday and now pending date.

Madrid came to accumulate in the last fortnight of December the positives of its coach, Pablo Laso, and nine players. The white team has already recovered almost all its troops, but now it is Barça that has added nine positives to its squad, in an outbreak similar to that experienced by Joventut de Badalona. Only Unicaja, Murcia and Fuenlabrada have been spared the wave of infections in the ACB changing rooms. Meanwhile, the Euroleague announced yesterday the suspension of three matches of Matchday 19 and dragged five more postponements of Matchday 18 (including Fenerbahçe-Madrid, rescheduled for February 8) and another of Matchday 17. Given the situation of Barça, too The Barça duel in Moscow against CSKA scheduled for Friday could be in jeopardy. Although the Euroleague is committed to keeping the matches standing as long as the teams have a minimum of eight players to compete, adding the juniors registered in the squad. In addition, as reported by As, the Euroleague on Monday tweaked its protocols to shorten, with the approval of doctors according to the evolution of the pandemic, the time of reincorporation of infected players. From the “14 days from the first test in which they gave positive or from the last day with symptoms”, which included the previous text, to a period of between seven and ten days after giving positive (with a negative PCR and the tests ability to compete exceeded). A change that will allow teams to recover personnel, mainly asymptomatic, more quickly.

With 11 casualties and three junior juniors, Madrid played on December 23, precisely against CSKA. This Tuesday the Whites return to competition in the ACB against Manresa. One more step to square a complex puzzle, with 11 ACB teams playing European competition and a week with a double Euroleague matchday in between, which has more games postponed than available dates.

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