Gary Neville Questions Return Of Premier League And Risks To Player Health
Gary Neville has questioned plans for the Premier League to return at the beginning of June, questioning how many players getting ill is really worth having football back.
Football fans would have been excited earlier this week with reports of the Premier League's 'Project Restart' to get the game back up and running at the beginning of June.
However there's already some bumps in the road and Sky Sports pundit Neville has some major concerns about player welfare.
"The FIFA medical officer said that football should not take place before September. I think if it was a non-economic decision there would be no football for months," the former Manchester United defender said on 'The Football Show' on Wednesday.
"People are now assessing risk. How many people have to die playing football in the Premier League before it becomes unpalatable? One? One player? One member of staff goes into intensive care? What risk do we have to take?
"The minute one player, one member of staff goes into intensive care, what are they going to do? They really are not sure."@GNev2 on if and when football can return in the UK.- Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 29, 2020
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"The reasons we're discussing football coming back at this moment in time are purely economic reasons.
"If people are really serious about putting health first, we wouldn't be discussing football returning at this moment in time."
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Whilst there has been some calls for football to return, including from the government, FIFA Council and Chairman medical chief Michel D'Hooghe has called for sport not to return until September.
That's the advice that France and Netherlands have taken on board this week with both countries' governments putting a stop to Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie respectively.
French president Emmanuel Macron is reportedly trying to get the other major leagues on board to follow suit, with the Bundesliga due to restart in May.
Speaking about players coming back and the risks to their health Salford City owner Neville added, "There will be people who will view it as a risk factor. Players themselves will want to go and play. Players at the lower levels will want to go play and 1,400 players are out of contract.
"...There are some players with conditions that could be more at risk of coronavirus than others and that is something that needs to be assessed.
"If health comes first, there is only one outcome at this moment in time. How many players have got asthma? How many players have diabetes? Have they assessed all of these things and are they willing to put those people at risk?"
Given everything we know about the spread of the virus and the fact that everyone else has to keep social distance unless 'essential,' should footballers really be put at more risk?