Coronavirus: “English football should not restart until the players have been tested”

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Leicester’s 4-0 victory over Aston Villa on March 9 was the last Premier League game played in England

The football season in England should not resume until all players have been tested for coronavirus, said the general manager of the League Managers ‘Association (LMA).

But Richard Bevan told BBC Sport that “the tests must first be made available” to NHS workers and patients.

“Once that has happened, we will definitely access it in sport,” he added.

Professional football has been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.

Bevan criticized the English Football League (EFL) for failing to consult its members on an estimate that the season could be finished in 56 days after it was restarted.

This week, clubs received a letter in which the EFL said it “hoped” for a conclusion in the summer months.

Bevan described the proposed schedule as “incredibly tight,” adding, “You are going to have to get support from coaches and managers. You don’t do it by not talking to them. You don’t get the end product or work together if you just send a letter without really taking their advice or thoughts. “

Bevan said he has now asked the EFL to discuss the restarting of the season with managers in each league.

“You are going to have to get the goodwill of the players because you are going to have at least three weeks of training to at least get back on the field,” he said.

“The most important thing guiding each principle is health, and getting back on the field without ensuring players are in great shape is a very big call to make. I would like to see more debate. “

Bevan believes testing is essential to get back into action as soon as possible.

“We are not really going to see a more precise forecast of when we can get to the field until the end of April,” he said.

“In Germany, if you look at the discussions about the return in May, it is probably the direct result of a very clear reflection of their government, because they do 50,000 tests a day.

“In this country, we make 10,000 a day, although the government is targeting 100,000 a day by the end of the month.

“Our managers don’t want to be back on the field unless the players have been tested. But at the same time, the government must confirm that it is OK, because tests must be made available first – in case of a shortage – to treat workers, patients, NHS staff and their families. ”

How many in the UK have been tested?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has already said that the government has “a lot of work to do” to reach its goal of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day in the UK by the end of April.

Tests are now available to doctors and nurses who have symptoms or who live in a household with someone who has them. Tests for other health and care workers will follow.

About 7,500 NHS workers and their family members have been tested, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

A total of 218,577 people in the UK had been tested as of April 7. And as of April 8, 343 people have been tested per 100,000 people in the UK.

“We need to make sure we have good leaders and clarity of thought”

Bevan said he took a 20% salary deferral from the LMA and that several of his members did the same.

“Most, if not all, managers have supported their clubs in some way or another financially,” he said.

“Despite some managers who you believe are not loyal to certain clubs because they end their contracts every 10 months, they have been overwhelmingly impressive in terms of leadership. “

Bevan says that outside of the Premier League there has been “a lack of centralized thinking and a lack of respect for how you should lead in the modern world” in English football during the crisis.

“We are going to have very difficult times and we need to make sure we have good leaders and clarity of thought. “

Asked what he thought of the controversy surrounding Premier League clubs that put non-playing staff on leave, Bevan said, “Perhaps the government has learned that when the leave period begins end and that he has to reset it for June, I would welcome them saying that the leave is really only focused on the people who really need it.

“Maybe we should see the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs that need permission. I would like the government to establish better guidelines so that bad companies don’t take money from where we need it. »»

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