FOOTBALL: Concerned players are reportedly threatening to stall the return of Premier League football due to their fears over the coronavirus pandemic.
English fixtures will not resume until the 30th April at the very earliest and this date is likely to be pushed back even further back amid the widespread uncertainty with the country currently in a state of lockdown due to the Coronavirus epidemic.
On Friday, a conference call was held between officials from the Premier League, English Football League and Professional Footballers’ Association where it was agreed that football will commence ‘when it is safe’ and when ‘conditions allow’.
It’s hoped there will be time for domestic leagues to be completed at some stage over the summer after UEFA postponed Euro 2020 until 2021.
But, according to The Guardian, footballers from the English top-flight and EFL clubs could put their health first and refuse to compete if they are asked to do so over the coming months. First-team stars are worried about putting themselves and their families at risk by returning to action while the health crisis continues, even if matches are played behind closed doors.
Players’ representatives are investigating whether insurance policies could be declared null and void should their clients contract COVID-19 while being aware of the risks involved. There will be further discussions next week with a view to formulating a joint plan.
A joint statement from the Premier League, EFL and PFA on Friday read:
“The Premier League, EFL and PFA met today and discussed the growing seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘It was stressed that the thoughts of all three organisations continue to be with everyone affected by the virus.
The Premier League, EFL and PFA agreed that difficult decisions will have to be taken in order to mitigate the economic impact of the current suspension of professional football in England and agreed to work together to arrive at shared solutions.
The leagues will not recommence until 30 April at the earliest. They will only do so when it is safe and conditions allow.
Further meetings will take place next week with a view to formulating a joint plan to deal with the difficult circumstances facing the leagues, their clubs, players, staff and fans.”