Premier League Start Date Still June 12th But Flexible
Tuesday, 19th May 2020 09:06
After Monday's Premier League meeting, clubs have unanimously agreed to proceed towards a 12th June start date, but with the proviso that it might need to be pushed back a week if necessary.
After the successful restart of football in Germany the Premier League is a little more confident about the chances of it's own restart, they have agreed that club's will now return to training from today (Tuesday) albeit in in limited groups at first before stepping up the ante.
The issue is now about how quick that the clubs can get their squads up to full match fitness, normally in the summer break it is accepted that six weeks is the usual period and that usually includes a number of friendlies.
But this is different and although six weeks may not be needed assuming the players maintained a level of fitness in isolation, there are now just under four weeks until the intended start date.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters has said.
“We have been focused on this staging post, it’s not a firm commitment, for June 12.
"What we are able to do today is basically to move forward on small group training.
“Next week we are going to be discussing full contact training protocols for that.
"Once you know when you can start full contact training and we have had a proper discussion with clubs about how much is required to create the fitness levels before they can start playing we are then in a position to be able to confirm when the season start is.
“So we haven’t changed the start date, we have to be flexible about it. What we don’t want to do is continually move that start date. So we haven’t changed it, we need to be flexible and acknowledge we are in a step by step process.”
Masters did, however, say that they were hopeful of also getting full contact training approved next week.
“Today we haven’t talked to the players or even that clubs yet about return to contact training, in terms of the fine details of protocols,” said Masters. “We’re anticipating we can do that in the next week to 10 days.
“Before any decisions are made exactly the same as this stage’s decision, we will have very similar meetings with players and managers to explain to them how contact training would work and so they can raise their concerns and questions and we can answer any medical concerns they might have.
“It’s exactly the same process repeated we have done for this stage of the protocols, we’ll repeat that for stage two.”
There is also the issue of just how things are handled from a medical point of view ,Premier League medical expert Richard Garlick and doctor Mark Gillett were also on the call. Gillett said they would not copy Germany by putting players in self isolation before games.
“The advice we are getting from government is that if you are going to isolate you have to do it for 14 days. So you will need to be in a hotel environment for 14 days to make it truly effective.
“Now that is something we are going to need to think about and consult widely with players, managers, clubs, LMA, PFA - all the stakeholders as we move through into that phase.
“It's certainly something that will be discussed. And ultimately when we get into phase three in particular we will make a decision on that and it will be one that everyone is happy.”
So the Premier League has taken a big step towards restarting and t should be noted that it is doing so following strict Government and medical guidelines and that the process could be delayed or even ended at any point if these are not met.
Yes it is also about money, but in truth this is perhaps the part of the economy that will have the least chance of infection given the strict conditions it will operate under, far stricter and controlled than any other employment sector.
Of course lives matter, the one thing about this virus is that there is no blanket cover all policy that can be applied, it affects different environments in different ways, be it age, be it where you are living and the conditions there and the density of the population, what works in Germany does not necessarily work in a different country.
The only thing that anyone seems to be able to do with any accuracy is track the virus and predict forward the number of deaths by hospital admissions etc.
Whereas some would say that we should not be starting football whilst people are dying, the reality is that we have to try and get back to a normal way of life, there may never be a cure and if there is it may be years away before it can be produced in the quantities needed.
Until then we have to try and restore normality for the sanity of the population, do I think it is right to send Schools back in June, I would ask what is the point we are only going to close them for the summer 6 weeks later, why take the risk, but the re starting of football is a more calculated risk and sadly this current situation is not going to be about certainty for a long time, life for all of us is going to be about calculated risks, whether that is going to the shops or returning to work, some of us will be safer than others due to where we live, what we do for a living and the age we are and our underlying health.
In the grand scheme of things football will be low risk, a niche area where everyone involved is known and under strict medical conditions, the benefits of it's return are a calculated risk, I know I would rather be being kicked in the air by a Premier League central defender on a Saturday afternoon than walking the aisles of Tesco's, I know what will be far safer !
Photo: Action Images
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