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Report: Many English Premier League players don’t want to play while pandemic remains strong

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Official Premier League Match Ball Photo by Visionhaus

The coronavirus has ravaged football leagues across the world, with the Eredivisie and Ligue Une already having to cancel their seasons. For the English Premier League, in recent weeks there has been much speculation that the competition may resume at some point in June. There also have been many indications that the league is strongly focused on finishing the campaign as opposed to voiding it. However, according to ESPN, countless PL players are against resuming play in the near future.

A source at a PL club described this by saying, “A lot of players are very uncomfortable with coming back.” Furthermore, he is unsurprised by the PL’s insistence to play on. “The only way the league takes this seriously is when someone at a club dies,” he said. A tragic event like this would likely shift momentum towards voiding the season, costing the league hundreds of millions in sponsorships, TV money and more.

Other sources at different Pl clubs told ESPN of the players’ worries about resuming the season. Players with pregnant wives and young families were concerned, and many players don’t believe football and social distancing can coexist together. One thing’s for sure: it would take rigorous compliance with hygiene measures, organisation, and diligence from all involved if a league will get underway anytime soon.

The league that arguably has the highest chance of restarting in the near future is the Bundesliga. All teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have already begun training in groups of up to seven, and there are concrete proposals for the league to get underway in May. The DFL chief, Christian Seifert, even said that the league would be fit to resume in a matter of weeks. Now, only the government green-light is in the way.

UEFA has instructed governing bodies to present their plans for resumption by May 25. At this point, it seems certain that more leagues (especially outside the “big five”) will be unable to resume. The cost of procuring enough tests for all involved, extreme hygiene measures and more will just be impossible to achieve for the majority of leagues.