The dissident Premier League clubs pleading against a quick return to football will push for Project Restart to postpone, warning that pushing through plans can now cost lives.
As Premier League clubs meet via video conference on Monday, some are worried they are in a hurry with a restart that is inappropriate as coronavirus deaths last week averaged nearly 500 a day in the UK.
At this point, the season resumes on June 12 with the FA Cup final, the last game of the season on August 8. But Brighton CEO Paul Barber said Sports email: “We have to be careful not to make mistakes here, because if we do, it can ruin lives. It can cost lives. And we cannot afford that. ‘
The dissident Premier League clubs have expressed concern and want the project restart restarted
Brighton CEO Paul Barber warned that a misstep can end up costing lives
Clubs will also ask the Premier League to work with the government to explore the opportunity to abandon the neutral venue plan and instead use the home and country grounds to close the season.
Relegation-threatened clubs, with most to lose, such as Brighton, Aston Villa and Watford, have expressed opposition to neutral locations and West Ham vice president Karren Brady said on Saturday that clubs were ‘understandably concerned’ by the plan.
The Premier League is expected to repeat that police advice and guidance from Public Health England mean that the government will only allow football to start over in 10 approved neutral locations and so there is currently no other option.
Threatened clubs like Aston Villa have expressed opposition to neutral locations
On Thursday, there will be another meeting between the Premier League, the FA, the EFL, the Ministry of Culture Media and Sport and Health England.
Some clubs want the issue raised there, although the head of the British Football Police Unit, Deputy Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts, has instructed football managers to ‘get a grip’ and stop complaining about neutral locations.
At Monday’s Premier League shareholders’ meeting, clubs will vote on the technical issue of renewing the contracts of players whose deals expire on June 30 with a month and approving the medical protocols for a restart developed by the Premier League with club doctors and Health England.
The argument will be that a delay in restart, when the reproductive rate of the coronavirus has fallen further, would be a safer environment for players to return and provide the opportunity for home and away matches, to the detriment of those in the degradation zone.
On Monday, Premier League clubs will vote to decide whether players with a contract that ends on June 30, such as Chelsea winger Willian, can extend their current deals by a month
A club owner told it Sports email“I am legally responsible for the health of all our employees, so we cannot put them out of business unless there is clarity about safety.”
But another club doctor said, “There is no such thing as no risk. Everyone is reluctant to say that, but it must be said at some point. ‘
On the issue of neutral locations, Brady wrote in her newspaper column: ‘Edge clubs are understandably concerned about giving up home advantage, let alone playing without their vital 12th husband – their supporters.
“The will to play is the essence of every club and player, but they want a level playing field.”
Scott Duxbury, Chairman of Watford, wrote: “If at least six clubs and I suspect there are more concerned with the obvious drawback and devastating effects of playing in these nine-game distorted mini-games, I believe the Premier League duty has care to allay those concerns. ‘
The clubs believe that the police are simplistic in imposing neutral locations to keep fans from showing up and breaking the social distance rules. But they will be told by the Premier League that the authorities are pushing on neutral grounds not only for that fear but for health reasons, because it is easier to purge and control a limited number of soils.
Watford chairman Scott Duxbury says the league has a duty of care to address issues
The clubs say it would be easier to check messages and influence their fans in their own field. Barber also says that under the circumstances, it is important to have medical staff familiar with the stadium in an emergency.
The May 25 deadline is when UEFA has insisted that European leagues must have decided how they will finish the season.
The argument about relegation has been widely won, and no club will raise that issue. It is clear that even clubs in the relegation zone will accept a restart that implies the decline, despite the enormous consequences that relegation could have in the midst of an economic crisis.
There is also less restriction now. Most clubs seem to accept that the Premier League will restart if the government approves and there is no sudden spike in infections in the next two weeks.
Much will also depend on whether the Bundesliga kicks off next weekend, although the news that Dynamo Dresden, a second-tier Bundesliga team, has been placed in isolation for 14 days after two players who tested positive for COVID-19 illustrates just how precarious the situation is.
Most Premier League players have been told to come on May 18 for an official practice for the season where they train in groups of six with strict social distance. If the government eases restrictions on the lock in the week of May 25, full contact training is expected to resume.
More research will also be conducted on the protocols, which will be adopted for training, as they have been designed to take into account physician questions. Once adopted, they are then presented to the players and managers to see if they request changes.
Karren Brady revealed that the West Ham players have already had their cardiac screening
As Sports email Unveiled last weekend, all players will be tested for respiratory failure and have an electrocardiogram heart monitor test, and one player who tests positive for COVID-19 will not result in the entire squad having to isolate.
Brady revealed on Saturday that West Ham players have already had their heart screenings in preparation for a return to training.
Testing has already started at many clubs, with a test company owned by BUPA overseeing the operation and paid for by the Premier League. If the Premier League opens on June 12, players will be quarantined for the first game for a week, as Bundesliga players are doing prior to their league which starts next weekend.
At most clubs this week, players will continue to train individually, although Liverpool and some clubs allow three players at a time on their training ground, although they must train individually.
Many players have been spoken through the main training protocols in preparation.
There is a concern among players, some doctors and some clubs and it is clear that a lot of work needs to be done to convince many that football can be resumed safely.
Some Premier League clubs fear that players will not want to play if the action resumes
Clubs fear that players don’t want to play. Players and all staff members must sign the protocols to ensure they have understood them, with guidelines so precise that it details where exactly to park when entering training.
That has alarmed many players, but clubs insist that they are only asked to sign because it is essential that they understand what is required of them to maintain safety.
Insurance issues are also high on the agenda with clubs, medical personnel and players. They are asked who would be liable if the plan goes wrong and a player or family member develops severe symptoms, is in intensive care or if they die.
Liability may rest on the Premier League, club, licensed sites or medical personnel if they have signed the protocols.