FIFA med­i­cal chief wary of re­sum­ing sea­son

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

LON­DON: The chair­man of FIFA’s med­i­cal com­mit­tee has said he is “scep­ti­cal” about restart­ing league foot­ball dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic and sug­gested na­tional com­pe­ti­tions con­cen­trate on get­ting ready for next sea­son in­stead.

There has been talk of Ger­many’s Bun­desliga and Eng­land’s Premier League re­sum­ing be­hind closed doors. But Michel D’Hooghe, the head of global govern­ing body FIFA’s med­i­cal panel, told the BBC on Tues­day: “My pro­posal is if it is pos­si­ble, avoid play­ing com­pet­i­tive foot­ball in the com­ing weeks.

“Try to be pre­pared for the start of good com­pe­ti­tion next sea­son.”

Dutch foot­ball chiefs have al­ready aban­doned this sea­son’s Ere­di­visie, with no pro­mo­tion or rel­e­ga­tion, while the fu­ture of the 2019/20 Ligue 1 cam­paign was thrown into doubt when the French Prime Min­is­ter said Tues­day that no ma­jor sport in the coun­try could take place un­til the end of the sum­mer.

Mean­while D’Hooghe warned too quick a re­sump­tion of foot­ball could have “con­se­quences of life and death”. The Bel­gian added: “I speak as a med­i­cal doc­tor, I don’t have to speak as an or­gan­iser of matches, but for the mo­ment from my med­i­cal stand­point I would be very scep­ti­cal.” D’Hooghe said play­ing foot­ball in the ab­sence of a vac­cine would cre­ate prob­lems in uphold­ing guide­lines on so­cial dis­tanc­ing de­signed to stop the spread of the virus.

“How will you avoid di­rect con­tact?” he said. “That is my ques­tion.” Mean­while he urged foot­ball au­thor­i­ties to clamp down on spit­ting by play­ers.

“I am a lit­tle bit afraid that to have a com­plete so­lu­tion we will have to wait un­til we have a vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme, but I think the time has come now to think of some hy­gienic rules.

“For in­stance to avoid spit­ting ... This is one of the things we have to con­sider be­cause this is a real dan­ger in the fu­ture.” FIFA said it is propos­ing five sub­sti­tu­tions per match when foot­ball re­sumes, to help play­ers cope with the in­crease in the num­ber of games. The world govern­ing body has sent its pro­posal to the In­ter­na­tional Board (IFAB), the guardian of the laws of the game, which has to ap­prove it be­fore it can be im­ple­mented by na­tional leagues, a FIFA spokesman said.

“When the com­pe­ti­tion re­sumes, the cal­en­dars will be over­loaded with a higher than usual num­ber of matches,” he said. “The safety of the play­ers is one of FIFA’s pri­or­i­ties. One of the con­cerns is that the high fre­quency of matches may in­crease the po­ten­tial risk of in­juries,” he added.

To ad­dress these con­cerns, FIFA has made a pro­posal to the IFAB to “tem­po­rar­ily re­lax Law 3 of the game to al­low for a greater num­ber of sub­sti­tu­tions. Each team could make five sub­sti­tu­tions dur­ing reg­u­la­tion time plus a sixth sub­sti­tu­tion dur­ing over­time.” The pro­posal would need to be stud­ied quickly by the IFAB as some leagues are plan­ning to re­sume after stop­ping play be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic in early May. The mea­sure could re­main in force through­out the 2020-2021 sea­son and also ap­ply “in the­ory” dur­ing next sum­mer’s Euro­pean cham­pi­onships, ac­cord­ing to a source close to FIFA.

“If this mea­sure is val­i­dated by the board, each league and each body will be able to de­cide whether or not to ap­ply it and in the com­pe­ti­tions of its choice,” added the FIFA spokesman.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.