FIFA: Games should not return before September

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The leading medical expert at FIFA has said games should not return until September 1, at the earliest, as a return date for the 2019-20 season remains totally up in the air.

The Medical Committee chairman, Michel D’Hooghe, does not believe games should return due to health concerns and bluntly said “it is not a matter of money, it is a matter of life and death” and fears a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph in the UK, D’Hooghe revealed that the main aim for leagues around the world should be to focus on the 2020-21 season and forget about the 2019-20 season.

“We are all subject to decisions at national level from the public authorities. It is very simple. Football suddenly becomes not the most important thing in life. I will be happy if we can start, in a convenient way, the next championship and have nothing before the start of next season,” D’Hooghe said.

“If they could start the season 2020-21 end of August or beginning of September I would be happy. Then they could eventually avoid a second attack from the virus, which is not impossible. Everyone has to be very careful for the moment. I have heard in many countries they are thinking about playing football again, with or without the public.

“In my long career I have seen many situations where there has been a balance between economic and health. Mostly the economics won, whether that was about jetlag or football at altitude or in extreme conditions such as pollution situations. If there is one circumstance where medical arguments should win against economical arguments, it is now. It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of life and death. It is very simple.”

With the top-flight in the Netherlands and now France canceled, countries across Europe are putting bans on all sporting events, even behind closed doors, until September.

This comes hot on the heels of the Premier League and UK government being in talks over ‘project restart’ to get games going again in June, while the Bundesliga and Serie A are also keen to resume the 2019-20 campaigns.

FIFA seem to be totally against resuming the current campaign and UEFA now want a plan in place before May 25 from leagues across Europe and if they plan to try and finish the 2019-20 domestic season. FIFA saying that a return date to action should be in September at the earliest pretty much scuppers the rest of the 2019-20 season and will force UEFA to end its club competitions too.