In a move that disappointed many, FIFA Medical Committee Chairman Michel D'Hooghe on Tuesday, April 28 stressed that the sport should not resume before September 1, at the earliest. This comes as different leagues have taken different decisions regarding the resumption of the sport; however, it has been dubbed as a major risk in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that can spread even more rapidly if lockdown restrictions are eased too early.
In an interview with a sports media outlet, D'Hooghe said that competitive football cannot take place so early and that all stakeholders, authorities, teams, players, media, and the fans need to be more patient.
Talking about the gravity of the situation, the FIFA Medical chief stated that it was the most dramatic situation since World War II and that everyone needs to be more realistic.
On Tuesday, French PM Edouard Philippe said that the football will return only after September, thus ending all hopes of finishing the ongoing 2019/20 season.
"The 2019-20 season of professional sports, including football, will not be able to resume. It will be possible, on sunny days, to practice an individual sporting activity outdoors, obviously respecting the rules of social distancing. It will not be possible, neither to practice sport in covered places nor team or contact sports," the French Prime Minister said while speaking to the media.
Last week, the Dutch FA decided to cancel the remainder of the Dutch football league immediately due to the coronavirus pandemic. In an announcement, the authorities stated that the decision was necessary and took note that it will "cause great disappointment" to some fans and clubs.
However, all leagues do not believe in suspending the season and presume sports can resume behind closed doors or with only a certain number of fans. After French PM's announcement, Javier Tebas, president of Spain's La Liga said, "I do not understand why there would more danger in playing football behind closed doors, with all precautionary measures, than working on an assembly line, being on a fishing boat on the high seas, etc."
However, D'Hooghe in his statement added that football is a contact sport and that it can resume only when social distancing guidelines are relaxed. He also suggested that players should receive a yellow card if they are found spitting.
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