Sport comes together as unions of 50 players around the world – from football to the NBA – start talking about how to safely return to action during the coronavirus pandemic
- Sports seasons around the world have come to a halt due to the coronavirus outbreak
- The talks will include football, cricket and rugby, as will the NBA and the NFL
- The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and Euro 2020 have been delayed for a year
- Read more about how you can help people affected by COVID
Prominent figures of the world’s greatest sports will talk Tuesday about whether it is possible to safely return to action during the coronavirus pandemic.
Representatives of FIFPro, the world football association, participate in a conference call organized by the World Players Association, which supports approximately 85,000 professional athletes in 60 countries.
FICA, representing international cricketers, and international rugby players will also be involved in the discussions, as will their NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball and Australian Rules Football counterparts.
The Premier League season is currently in limbo amid ongoing talks over a potential return
Cricket stars like Joe Root (left) and Ben Stokes now usually play county cricket
In total, 50 player unions will contribute, and are expected to insist on representation in key decision-making bodies of the coronavirus, including the World Health Organization and the International Olympic Committee.
Delegates will also be accompanied by independent health experts, including epidemiologists, who will seek clear advice to ensure that athletes and women are safe when they need to take action again.
Those leading the major leagues around the world are desperate to get the show back on track, with the Premier League being one of many to watch behind-the-scenes staging to ensure the 2019-20 season can be completed.
But there are growing concerns about the logistics of resuming sports, and Tuesday’s meeting will ensure that athletes have access to independent health advice, in addition to what has already been provided by governments and governing bodies.
Representatives of the NBA will also be involved in the talks at the Tuesday meeting
The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed by one year due to coronavirus
Brendan Schwab, CEO of the World Players Association, told Sportsmail: “Given the health and safety of athletes is central to all discussions about” returning to the game, “it is vital that we have access to our own medical and public health experts.
We must weigh acute economic and health considerations in a tight timeframe with limited information. ‘
Meanwhile, the number of professional footballers reporting symptoms of depression has doubled since the coronavirus suspension, according to a study by FIFPro.
The World Football Association surveyed 1,602 professional players – 1,134 men and 468 women – between March 22 and April 14, and noted a significant increase in mental health problems.
“These figures show that the number of players with anxiety and depression symptoms has risen sharply since the coronavirus quit professional football, and I fear this is also the case for all of society in an unprecedented emergency because of Covid-19,” FIFPRO Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge said.
‘In football, young athletes suddenly have to deal with social isolation, a suspension from their professional life and doubts about their future.
“Some may not be well equipped to deal with these changes and we encourage them to seek help from a person they trust or a mental health professional.”
Players from England and Scotland were among the players in 16 countries contacted for the survey.