In these times it seems safe to say that most football fans have the same opinion – we would love football to come back but we really don’t want anyone to die or the coronavirus to spread anymore as a result.
In many ways those two things do contradict each other, but Germany is looking to start their season again soon and some of their plans do demonstrate how it could be done.
If it could be done safely then it would be a big morale boost to everyone, it will bring a welcome distraction, something to be emotionally invested in and something new to talk about.
It’s hard to find media reports in the UK that aren’t politically biased in one way or the other, but it does sound like Germany have handled the whole crisis much better than us so they are in a better position to start again sooner.
Who knows when the Premier League will be in a position to consider a restart, but a report from svgeurope showed us what Germany is planning and it offers an example for the Premier League.
Obviously we can’t go from a total lockdown to cramming thousands of supporters into a small space so the games will be played behind closed doors, so the broadcasting becomes critical here. It’s been suggested that these should be shown free of charge to the nation, firstly so everyone can access something positive in these times, but also to stop everyone without a subscription from piling into a neighbours house to watch it instead. It’s not clear how long the games will need to be played behind closed doors for, but you have to think it will be months rather than weeks.
This is one of the most important things, as the players are putting themselves at risk to keep us entertained, so making sure they and their families are safe is vital. It’s suggested that they will still practice social distancing as much as possible, which includes travelling in several buses to keep a distance, arriving at different times to ensure their paths don’t cross as much as possible, while players won’t shake hands or sit together on the bench during games either. They also say they will be tested on an ongoing basis to ensure they aren’t infected by anyone else on the field.
MONEY AND LOWER LEAGUES
This might get overlooked by top clubs who only look out for themselves, but the lower leagues are vital to the game and those teams need to survive. It’s unlikely the TV companies will be paying big money to show lower division games, The report suggests that money will be distributed to the lower divisions and also the women’s league, which will also need a lot of help and can’t be forgotten about. Without supporters it means that TV money will be the main source of income so this is imperative.
COACHING AND MEDICAL STAFF
While the players take most of the attention, it’s easy to forget that so many people are involved on a match day with a team. This is still up in the air, but it’s recommended that anyone off the field wears a medical mask to help reduce infection, while the idea of quarantining in a hotel or a camp away from their families is the preferred option for a lot of staff to unsure the safety of their loves ones too.
It’s starting to look like Germany will be the first major country to give this a go and if it’s a success then hopefully others can follow suit. It must be said that in the UK we do need to ensure the general safety of the population and that means getting the right medical and testing equipment for the nation before we can roll it out into football, but this seems like a decent blueprint to follow.