News   |    July 21st, 2021

Health Before Wealth!

Our Head of Football Operations Mark Arber shares his thoughts on whether the season should restart…

Football clubs across Europe are absolutely split about whether to end their competitions now or try to start up in June.

In France PSG has been crowned Champions of Ligue 1 after the Government intervened to call a halt to any idea of football returning. A points per game system was used to determine the final Ligue 1 standings. Marseille finished second and interestingly the same system was used to promote Lorient and Lens from Ligue 2. That will be of major interest to Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion in the EFL Championship. This follows the decision by Holland and Belgium to bring their seasons to a premature close.

In Spain La Liga clubs will begin testing players for Covid-19 next week as the first step towards restarting the season in June. Players in Spain have been told they are now free to begin individual training at club facilities. There is a similar situation in Italy where an announcement has been made that training will be allowed to recommence on May 18th with a view to matches being played from June onwards. In Germany the Bundesliga are looking to complete their season but no firm decisions have yet been taken. The situation is the same with Serie A in Italy.

In England, the football authorities are not rushing to make a decision and the Government will play a pivotal role in whether football returns, but early indications are that the UK Government is torn between lifting the spirits of the nation by seeing football return (even though matches will be behind closed doors) and the responsibility it has to the players, staff, officials and others who will be needed to come out of social distancing to allow the current season to finish.

I think everyone is aware that money is a driving factor in the delay to make a decision. It is estimated that the Premier League may lose up to £750million if the season doesn’t resume and that could have serious consequences for those clubs whose outgoings are is largely underpinned by TV income. Not everyone in the Premier League has the commercial income of say a Manchester United which can be a comfort blanket in the current crisis.

In my view the safety of the players, the staff at clubs and all those involved in the staging of matches and their families and friends have a right to be protected by the football authorities and the Government. Their safety should be the paramount consideration and if only one player loses his life through a resumption of matches that is one life too much and if that did happen apart from the obvious tragedy for those involved the lawsuits that follow would be huge.

In this case health and safety rules and money does not. It’s health before wealth.

For more information about ISM contact Mark E:

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