August 18, 2022

FIFA’s medical chief has urged the Premier League and other divisions across Europe not to restart the campaign, as it risks another spike in coronavirus cases.

Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, Spain’s La Liga and the Premier League are all pushing ahead with proposed plans to resume the 2019/20 when it is safe to do so – but other leagues have already been declared over.

Last Friday, the Dutch FA declared the Eredivisie season null and void, while it will be announced on Tuesday that the Ligue 1 season in France is also over, while in Belgium a vote to end the season has been delayed once again.

While many leagues are pushing ahead with plans to resume the 2019/20 season behind closed doors, FIFA’s medical chief Michel D’Hooghe believes football should not return until ‘the end of August or the beginning of September’.

“We are all subject to decisions at national level from the public authorities. It is very simple. Football suddenly becomes not the most important thing in life,” he told The Telegraph.

“I will be happy if we can start, in a convenient way, the next championship and have nothing before the start of next season.

“If they could start the season 2020-21 end of August or beginning of September I would be happy. Then they could eventually avoid a second attack from the virus, which is not impossible.

“Everyone has to be very careful for the moment. I have heard in many countries they are thinking about playing football again, with or without the public.

“In my long career I have seen many situations where there has been a balance between economic and health. Mostly the economics won, whether that was about jetlag or football at altitude or in extreme conditions such as pollution situations.

“If there is one circumstance where medical arguments should win against economical arguments, it is now. It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of life and death. It is very simple.”

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