Coronavirus: Return no clearer says West Ham’s Brady

PUBLISHED: 11:18 18 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:18 18 April 2020

West Ham United vice-chariman Karren Brady with husband Paul Peschisolido in the stands before a match at London Stadium

West Ham United vice-chariman Karren Brady with husband Paul Peschisolido in the stands before a match at London Stadium

PA Archive/PA Images

West Ham chief executive Karren Brady believes a return to football is no clearer than when the lockdown started, despite hopes of resuming the Premier League season in mid-June.

The Premier League stated after talks with the 20 clubs on Friday that its objective remains to complete the season but “at this stage all dates are tentative while the impact of Covid-19 develops”.

With most clubs having nine games left, reports claim finishing the season in a 40-day window was discussed, while there have been claims that clubs were told that domestic seasons must end by July 31 and the 2020-21 campaign must start by the first week of September at the latest.

Brady feels there are complex questions over training, testing of players, hygiene and medical protocols which need to be resolved.

The lockdown is in place until May 7 at the earliest, but Brady fears the ability of teams to train could be compromised afterwards.

Writing in her column in The Sun, Brady said: “Players will have been able to retain some physical fitness at home.

“But if social-distancing rules are still in place, physical match-play training will not be allowed – you can’t tackle from two metres away.

“So, how match-fit will players be if the season commences, as we all hope it will, by mid-June?”

Brady questioned how Premier League clubs could regularly test players for coronavirus when the same situation is not yet in place for all NHS workers, and highlighted a potential unfairness in some squads having a number of players in self-isolation.

She added: “Police officers will need to be at games even if they are behind closed doors as some supporters will travel to the stadium, even if they cannot come in to watch. But the police will want to ensure attending matches does not drain resources away from other matters.

“Everyone at the stadium – and even behind closed doors this is about 300-500 people, including security, staff, medical officers, players, referees and media – will have to have temperature checks, fill out health questionnaires and observe social distancing.

“Then there is the issue of injuries. All this is manageable but what if a player gets injured, where do we send him?

“It can’t be to an NHS hospital that is already under pressure and private hospitals are carrying out NHS procedures and not taking in injured footballers. So then what?”

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