Oh, that the science could give us some peace of mind as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the world (let alone our soccer-loving hearts).
UEFA medical chief Tim Meyer says a return of the 2018-19 season is “definitely possible,” one day after FIFA’s medical chief Michel D’Hooghe claimed games should not return until September.
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Meyer stressed that safety protocols will be key, but that delaying matches until September like the Netherlands and France is not a necessity.
Here’s Meyer, who has also served as the head physician of the German Football Association, via Sky Sports:
“All football organisations which are planning the restart of their competitions will produce comprehensive protocols dictating sanitary and operational conditions ensuring that the health of those involved in the games is protected and the integrity of public policy is preserved.
“Under these conditions and in full respect of local legislation, it is definitely possible to plan the restart of competitions suspended during the 2019-20 season.”
The Premier League and UK government are in talks over ‘Project Restart’ to get the season restarted in June, while the Bundesliga, La Liga, and Serie A are also training or nearing it.
UEFA want a plan in place from all nations before May 25 if they plan to try and finish the domestic season. Issuing a statement in the face of governing body FIFA is a strong statement that should not be overlooked as we weigh whether soccer can return.
That said, if testing can stop the spread between participants and if the players are for it, there are other benefits to the return of sport. For example: a sense of normalcy for fans at home. That cannot override the public good, though it can certainly play a part in the debate.