In a throwaway line at the end of a transfer rumor round-up, Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella reports that Chelsea “have told their squad that a return date of April 6 has been set (for training)” but does acknowledge what is probably everyone’s immediate reaction, that it is “subject to change” due to the ongoing “public health crisis”.
That may be underselling the magnitude of what’s going on, which seems to be a trend throughout the western world, though certainly more so in some places (looking at you, England), than others.
The Premier League is officially on hiatus until April 30th, but the more realistic expectation is at least another month beyond that, starting on June 1st, and still behind closed doors if at all. The UK are still just in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, trailing the patterns seen in Italy, Spain, and elsewhere by about two weeks.
That we could resume some semblance of normal life in about a month or even two seems optimistic already. Expecting players to reconvene in two weeks seems like a silly proposition altogether. As much as players need to figure out how to stay in some sort of playing shape, official training sessions (i.e. going to work) are probably off the table for the foreseeable future. Hopefully all the Chelsea boys can figure out some other things to do than just the club-supplied stationary bike! (And hopefully they can all be with their families at these strange times.)
To end on a bit of a hopeful note, we have seen extreme isolation measures work as intended in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. Obviously, they are much smaller geographically than other countries, but they’re proof positive that these lockdown measures, however draconian and disruptive they may be, can work if the protocols are followed properly.
So, as this brilliant tweet from West Brom reminds us, stay at home. For once, be a ball hog.