Rewind 87 days ago, and Harvey Barnes was netting Leicester City’s fourth goal against Aston Villa.
Due to the risk of coronavirus, that was the last Premier League goal scored since March. The Premier League, along with other European Leagues, were all halted immediately as the world set to battle this deadly virus.
Now, as countries start to return to normality, the beautiful game will soon be returning but not as we know or love.
The Bundesliga had a successful return in behind-closed-doors games over the past month and now other major European leagues, including Premier League, Serie A, and La Liga are also set to resume this month.
However, are we rushing footballers back too early just for our entertainment? Do the players truly feel safe?
Is the Premier League Returning Faster than Needed?
The First Problem with the Premier League Returning: Players Concerns
Watford’s captain Troy Deeney voiced his concerns over football returning and fears he might contract coronavirus on the playing field. Then bring the deadly virus back to his three-year-old son, who has breathing difficulties.
Football associations are constantly worried about the players’ safety but not their loved ones. Footballers are top professionals who are constantly healthy and can still be carriers. Potentially, passing the virus onto someone who has an underlying health condition or is vulnerable in their family. The Premier League returning is only seen as the entertainment factor over the actual safety of players and staff.
Importance of Testing
Testing is paramount to making sure football can return safely with Premier League clubs conducting two rounds of testing a week. Over the last week, no positive cases were found in the 1,130 players and staff-tested, Sky Sports reports.
Then, surely it is completely safe to return… well, no. People should be pleased with the news of no positive tests. However, we need to be concerned about how reliable these tests truly are. As reported by Daily Mail, there were fears in May about the accuracy of the results with 10 false readings on average for every 800 tests.
That figure does look worrying. A whole squad could be infected from just one false reading. Moreover, if players have no knowledge of having the virus, then going home to their loved ones, the inaccuracy of the tests could cost lives.
Not only are we putting footballers in danger, but the club’s staff are also putting their lives on the line. Ground staff, doctors, and club officers are just normal people, similar to the average football fan, keeping footballers safe whilst increasing their possibility of catching the virus.
The Bundesliga Shows an Example of How to Return to Normality
However, if countries are starting to go back to normal and entering the new normal life. Then footballers and staff should feel safer than anyone walking down the street at the moment. Companies all across the UK and Europe would prefer to have their employees tested regularly and begin operating again. But, we simply don’t have enough tests, giving footballers the privilege of being tested and protected.
Since the return in May, Germany has shown how to successfully bring back football. Meaning, all European leagues should take note and begin returning this month, while players are constantly tested.
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