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Chelsea register Petr Čech in Premier League squad because 2020 wasn’t weird enough yet

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Technical and performance advisor, semi-professional hockey goalkeeper, emergency goalkeeper cover

St Patrick’s v Chelsea - Pre-Season Friendly - Richmond Park Stadium Photo by Donall Farmer/PA Images via Getty Images

It’s been a wild year, 2020, to say the least, so the news of Chelsea registering Petr Čech for potential Premier League action for the first half of the season is just the right amount of crazy needed before this year comes to an end. (And this isn’t just some quirk of the registration process, like when Diego Costa was included in 2017 even though he quite clearly wasn’t going to play for us again.)

That’s right, Petr Čech, the club’s current technical and performance advisor, who last put on goalkeeping gloves for Chelsea five years ago and retired form playing altogether in May 2019, is back as “emergency cover”.

As per Chelsea official:

“Petr Cech has been included in the squad as emergency goalkeeper cover. This is a precautionary step due to the unprecedented conditions currently caused by the Covid-19 crisis. He takes up a position as a non-contract player.”

Čech’s legacy as a Chelsea legend is unquestionable, but this move still seems odd and oddly unnecessary that will only result in jokes, added pressure, and potential future awkwardness — even if Čech is actually younger than Willy Caballero!

He’s supposed to be growing into our future technical director, not turning back the clocks for and old boys’ party on the pitch!

Chelsea’s official line that this is some sort of cover falls short of the fact that Premier League rules allow for emergency goalkeeper registration should enough injuries occur (case in point: when both Čech and Carlo Cudicini suffered their head injuries in 2006, leaving us with just Hilário and Yves Ma-Kalambay, Chelsea were allowed to sign and register Magnus Hedman).

Lampard’s explanation that this is to allow Čech to help him in training every day is also nonsense since you don’t have to be registered to play in the Premier League to train with the team (especially as a player-coach). In fact, Čech had been doing that since pretty much the start of this season.

“Pete has been training with the goalkeepers for a few weeks now, he is passing on quality. We had a space in the squad and with this year and Covid it is nice to know that he is there if we need him.”

“He is fit, very fit. He is still relatively young. He finished playing when he possibly could have carried on. He has taken on his role at Chelsea very well and he has been very helpful to me and we work closely together. He trains fairly regularly and he is fit.

“Whether we will see him much this season, I am not sure. As I mentioned before, it depends on how the season goes with COVID and isolation. We felt it was a no-brainer to have Pete in the squad for that reason and it helps me training every day. When he is in such good form it can only help the goalkeepers we have to see one of the world’s best in the modern era amongst us.”

- Frank Lampard, Source: Football.London

You know, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Haven’t we learned anything from Jurassic Park!?

Čech has played 443 times in the Premier League, with 333 with Chelsea and 110 with Arsenal. He also needs one more appearance in the Premier League to move into 25th all time.

In any case, that’s the big news from the squad registrations that were due yesterday.

As confirmed by Chelsea, our 25-man squad for the first half of this season (until the January transfer window) is as follows. It’s pretty much the same as the Champions League squad, except with U21s instead of List Bs, and no distinction made between club- or association-trained homegrown players ... and of course Petr Čech. Havertz also counts as under-21 for Premier League, which opened up the non-homegrown spot for Čech.

non-HG (17): Alonso, Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Caballero, Čech, Emerson, Giroud, Jorginho, Kanté, Kovačić, Mendy, Pulisic, Rüdiger, Silva, Werner, Ziyech, Zouma

homegrown (4): Abraham, Chilwell, Christensen, Tomori

under-21 (5): Gilmour, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, James, Mount

Or, if you’re a visual learner: