FIFA medical chief claims clubs like Spurs should not be allowed to resume live sport

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, countries are taking a varied approach to the resumption of live sport.

The Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie seasons have already been called off while the Bundesliga is scheduled to restart next month behind closed doors (Daily Mail).

The Premier League is also said to be working towards resuming the season behind closed doors at the start of June (Daily Mail) and La Liga could follow suit (Goal).

However, FIFA medical chief, Michel D’Hooghe, has asserted that football cannot restart now as it is simply not practical for the game to be played under the current circumstances.

He urged football associations and governments to be patient and not rush into a decision they may later come to regret.

D’Hooghe told Sky Sports: “The world is not ready for competitive football, I hope this can change very quickly and I sincerely hope that. Today you need more patience,” D’Hooghe told Sky Sports News chief reporter Bryan Swanson.

“This is the most dramatic situation we have lived in since the Second World War. We should not underestimate it, we must be realistic.

“Football can only be possible if contact is possible again. Football remains a contact sport and avoiding contact is one of the first things everyone says is that you should avoid contact.

“It’s still about social distancing. Testing is an important point but you have to repeat them. If one of the players becomes positive, you have to put the whole group into quarantine. Is that a solution for a normal competition?

“It’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of life and death. You cannot play in the Premier League when players are obliged to remain two metres from each other. You cannot ask Liverpool to play Manchester when all the players will keep a distance of two metres between them.

“Have you ever tried playing football in a mask?! This does not avoid social distancing.

“We do not know when it will reach its peak in different countries, it will be different in every country. The solution will only be there the day there is an adequate vaccination programme.”

He also suggested that rules have to be tweaked slightly and proposed that players be shown yellow cards if they spit on the pitch during a game.

D’Hooghe added: “Football has to be patient. It has to listen to the national authorities, and respect the basic [health] rules.

“Just because balls might be sterilised, it does not suddenly mean we can play football again.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Health certainly must take precedence over football at the moment, and the Premier League should not get a green light to resume unless all the logistical challenges of holding football matches under the current circumstances are met. All eyes will be on the Bundesliga to see if the authorities in Germany can deal with the challenges.

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