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Rüdiger: ‘Football has no priority right now’

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Chelsea defender emphasizes fight against COVID-19 over any football considerations

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t putting just a damper on our everyday lives, it is also prompting questions about individual and societal priorities in a time of crisis (and beyond).

Normally, such questions are restricted to the realms of politics and economics, but these days, football also comes into play. The biggest sport on plant Earth is suffering greatly from the ongoing crisis, both in terms of sporting endeavor but also financial solvency, as the steady cadence of (semi-)weekly matches have ground to an absolute halt all around the world.

For many people, football feels like a religion. Watching a game, be that on a screen or live in a stadium, is an act of worship. It’s an escape from the realities and struggles of everyday life.

We sure could use such an escape in these unprecedented times!

But what we require right now is full focus on containing the spread of the virus, whatever it may take. The football world, in general, was fairly quick to understand this new reality, with most players leading by example.

Here’s Chelsea defender Antonio Rüdiger leading with words as well, as he so often does on and off the pitch.

“My biggest wish right now is that today’s new infection numbers are again lower than yesterday’s. But not the that Premier League immediately resumes. Football has no priority right now. It’s only about slowing down the spreading of the virus.”

The latest status of the Premier League is that we will hope to resume play by June 1st at the latest — April 30 is the official date, but that seems quite hopeful still — and finish off the complete remaining fixture list without affecting next season too much ... if conditions allow.

“We will see where we are with the number of infections by mid- or late April. And then we’ll have a better position to make a decision. And it won’t be possible to make a decision which satisfies all sides.

“If it’s about the health of each and every one we will understand it and comply with it.”

-Antonio Rüdiger; source: kicker via ESPN

And so we wait, and do our part to help fight against the spread of COVID-19. Every small action matters, no matter how insignificant you may feel in the face of such a massive crisis on an incomprehensibly global scale.