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Football should not be played until at least the start of September to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, suggests FIFA medical committee chairman.

In an interview on April 28 with Sky Sports News, Michel D’Hooghe stated that medical matters would be the absolute priority over league continuation.

“If there is one moment where absolute priority should be given to medical matters, then it is this one. This is not a matter of money but of life and death,” he said.

Talking about the pandemic which has caused games suspension globally, the former FIFA executive member said that this is the most dramatic situation we have lived in since World War II.

“We should not underestimate it, we must be realistic,” he added.

The veteran football administrator’s concern came as the German Bundesliga moves towards a possible re-start in May, while the English Premier League hopes that games to be played behind closed doors in June.

D’Hooghe further said that the world is not ready for competitive football and sincerely hoped the situation can change quickly.

“Today you need more patience,” said the medical doctor.

The Belgian also mentioned that while social distancing regulations are in place, it is too early for players to be coming into contact with one another. 

FILE PHOTO: D’Hooghe Chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee addresses the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich. Image: Reuters

Football can only be possible if contact is possible again, he added. 

“Football remains a contact sport and contact is one of the first things everyone says that you should avoid,” said D’Hooghe.

The medical chief highlighted that it is all about social distancing and that testing for COVID-19 is important but one needs to conduct the tests repeatedly.

“If one of the players becomes positive, you have to put the whole group into quarantine. Is that a solution for a normal competition? The solution will only be there the day there is an adequate vaccination programme,” he said.

He also said that changes needed to be made to rules and regulations when football returns, allowing referees to caution players who are seen spitting to during matches with a yellow card.

Source: Reuters

The Bruneian | KUALA LUMPUR


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