People in the UK were placed back into a third lockdown due to the global pandemic at the start of this week. The announcement was made and restrictions were tightened after a new, more passable version of the virus was detected. But what does this really mean for the future of the professional football and the competitions already underway?
Hospitals in London have already begun to express concerns that the increased numbers of positive tests could over run the NHS. Wards will soon become full of positive patients and the brave staff including doctors and nurses will be unable to cope. England just recorded their most casualties in a single day at a staggering 1,325.
So how come professional football is allowed to take place if the general public is set to spend another month without seeing loved ones? Some will argue that football provides a service of entertainment for the public to enjoy during another depressing period we must endure.
However, with the rise of positive Covid-19 cases in the EFL is it a matter of time before the FA step in and halt play? The Championship recorded 100 positive tests between the 24 clubs this week, averaging at 4.16 players or staff with the virus per team.
That might not sound like a lot of people, but with the newest strain being extremely more contagious it’s only a matter of time before that number skyrockets.
We have seen a number of games cancelled in the Premier League after outbreaks within certain team’s bubbles, such as Fulham and Man City. These games where postponed but even if they are rescheduled they will be cramped into a season where there is already little rest bite for the players.
The delayed European Championships are scheduled to take place late May, although this is now seriously under threat. Concerns have been raised over the player’s safety during this period and that even with a testing program in place how long before this is no longer enough.
Another example is this weekend’s FA Cup fixtures that are set to take place tomorrow and Sunday. One game has already been thrown into question, with Shrewsbury having to cancel their game against Southampton. The lower league side were forced to call off the tie and could have to forfeit the round without a ball being kicked.
The more games that become ravaged by the deadly disease, the more it becomes a question of when, rather than if, the season gets cancelled. I for one believe this season should be abandoned due to player welfare, as it’s not only fair for the players themselves but their families that could face a massive impact if they do test positive.
This decision will, of course, be met with moans and disappointment from the footballing community. Nevertheless, the right action needs to be taken to ensure that life as we know it can begin to resume. Not only will it help the general population get somewhere back to normality, but it would also mean fans could return to games quicker.
Like any football fan, it’s not a decision I’d be happy to hear, on the other hand it’s a decision that needs to happen.