FIFA Medical Committee chairman Michel D’Hooghe has warned against resumption of season anytime soon saying it’s a risk not worth taking considering the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Also Read - Watch: When Astrologer Bejan Daruwalla Said COVID-19 Will End By May 21
While sporting events in France have been banned until September, English Premier League is preparing for restart behind closed doors in June. Also Read - 'Unlock 1' in Gujarat: New Set of Relaxations Announced | Read Guidelines Here
But D’ Hooghe wants authorities to start preparations for the next season. “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,” the Belgian told BBC. Also Read - Belgian Prince Pays Heavily For Celebrations After Lockdown, Contracts COVID-19 Post a Party in Spain
“There is a risk and it is not a risk that has small consequences. It can have consequences of life and death and that is why I am so careful and I ask everyone to be very careful before deciding to play again. 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,” he added.
D’ Hooghe says football, a contact sport, will find it ‘ extremely difficult’ to maintain social distancing and unless a vaccine is developed, the idea of resumption should not be entertained.
“How will you avoid direct contact?. That is my question. For the moment the criteria means it is absolutely difficult to say that we can play competitive football and believe me I regret it profoundly because I am a football man,” he said.
He continued, “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.”
Football governing authorities, D’ Hooghe said, will have to be patient. Football has to be patient. It has to listen to the national authorities, and respect the basic [health] rules. Just because balls might be sterilised, it does not suddenly mean we can play football again,” he told Sky Sports.