Serbia's two main divisions will resume on May 30

BELGRADE: Serbia's first and second divisions will resume on May 30 without viewers in a changed format, while the lower leagues will not continue this season, the Balkan nation football Association (FSS) said Wednesday.

The decision means that the first two tiers comprising 16 clubs will play another four rounds of matches to complete the regular season, while the championship and relegation playoffs requiring seven additional rounds have been removed.

The FSS said the decisions were made based on a vote by clubs in both divisions, overwhelmingly in favor of shortening the season to make room for a summer break after the coronavirus The pandemic threw the calendar into chaos.

Eleven clubs in the upper division voted to cut the season and five against, including the champions. Belgrade Red Star and the city rivals Partizan, the FSS said.

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Only three clubs in the second tier voted to play the full 11 rounds.

The Serbian Cup will resume as scheduled, with the quarterfinals tied on June 3, followed by the semifinals on June 10 and the final on June 24.

Red Star leads the first division with 69 points in 26 games, 11 more than Partizan, whose coach Savo Milosevic He said last week that players needed at least four weeks of training to regain fitness from the game.

The altered format will allow clubs to have an adequate break from the closed season and avoid being rushed in the 2020-21 campaign after the pandemic stopped competition in early March.

Serbia, whose government is expected to lift a national state of emergency introduced to curb the pandemic on Wednesday, has recorded 9,677 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 200 deaths related to the new virus.