‘Premier League return date still not clear’

‘Premier League return date still not clear’

LONDON: West Ham Uni­ted chief executive Karren Brady believes the timescale for an English Premier Lea­gue return is no clearer than when the coronavirus lockdown started almost a month ago.

The EPL stated after talks with the 20 clubs on Friday that its objective remains to complete the season but at this stage all dates are tentative while the impact of Covid-19 develops.

Brady feels that complex questions still need to be answered over player training, the presence of police at matches, virus testing, hygi­ene and medical protocols.

Writing in her column in the UK newspaper The Sun, she said: “Players will have been able to retain some physical fitness at home. But if social-distancing rules are still in place, physical match-play training will not be allo­wed — you cant tackle from two meters away. So, how match-fit will players be if the season commences, as we all hope it will, by mid-June?

“Police officers will need to be at games even if they are behind closed doors, as some supporters will travel to the stadium, even if they cannot come in to watch. But the police will want to ensure attending matches does not drain resources away from other matters.

“Everyone at the stadium — and even behind closed doors this is about 300-500 people — including security, staff, medical officers, players, referees and media, will have to have temperature checks, fill out health questionnaires and observe social distancing.

“All this is manageable but what if a player gets injured, where do we send him? It can’t be to an NHS hospital that is already under pressure ... so then what?”