We may be starting to hope that the brightening on the horizon is the beginning of the end of the current crisis, but the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic continues apace, and most of the world has yet to figure out how to handle it. And that includes the football industry in England, with no actual decisions made after several crunch meetings of Premier League stakeholders, including regarding timelines or wage cuts.
There has been talk about a potential return on June 8, with training starting up again in mid-May, but it’s all quite tentative, with every detail (regardless of actual timeline) still needing to be worked out. It’s all leading to plenty of anxiety and criticism, from fans, the public at large, and the players alike.
For Willian, the father of two girls who asked for special dispensation to be allowed to return to Brazil to be with his family after his two-week quarantine stemming from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s positive diagnosis was up, the main worry is about contracting the virus while at work and taking it home with him. He wants the people making these decisions to be attentive to the risk — contacts sports and exercise in general could spread the virus even more effectively in fact.
“If we restart playing without fans but there’s contact on the pitch and maybe we can spread the virus between us. It’s not a bad idea but they have to know very carefully what’s going to happen. Maybe a player can have the virus and we play against each other, you know?
“I play against someone and I get the virus then I go home after the game to stay with my family and pass the virus to my wife or daughters. So we have to be careful about that.”
-Willian; Source: AP via Mail
Of course, should football resume in the next couple months, it’s more than likely that it will be held in an isolated tournament setting, with players probably restricted from contact from their families precisely to minimize the occurrence of such situations. But Willian’s concern certainly stands in the long-term.
And it’s not like the “ghost games” as they’re calling them in Germany are an ideal solution. Deprived of a live audience in the stadium, the games are likely to be a shadow of their former spectacle (even if they pipe in crowd noise, as has been suggested recently). But it’s probably the best we can do given the current circumstances.
“Football without fans is no fun. I’ve heard that at we could return with closed gates, with no public in the stadiums. If it is necessary and if we must play for the good of all, it must be done.”
-Willian; source: Mirror
One thing that Willian isn’t concerned about is his own contractual situation with Chelsea. He’s made it clear before that he will give it his all until its expiration, regardless of what the future may hold. He’s probably one of those who would have no problems agreeing to a week-by-week extension should the season extend beyond June 30.
“I want to give everything for Chelsea until the end like I always did, until the end of my contract, until the end of the league.
“I have to discuss with the club to see what we are going to do. But for me, from my side, I have no problem to play until the end of the season.”
-Willian; source: AP via Daily Mail
Until then, Willian will continue to worry about the virus, his family, and the general state of the world — like most of us.
“We have to take care of ourselves and the people we love. This is a moment that worries me a lot. They say that after this there will be unemployment and this is the perspective that worries me in Brazil. How will the economy be? What about people’s jobs?
“But at the same time, I believe that this is not the time to think about it, but about health. Nothing else. It is the most important of all. If you are well and healthy, you can work. If you’re sick, you don’t do anything.”
“I try to see the bright side. I can do something I couldn’t do before: stay with my wife more, play with my daughters, watch movies every day. But you can see that everyone is scared.
“My only thought is that it will pass soon and that it will end with everyone well, with health - and everything will return to normal. It can’t be any different. It is a disease that stopped the world and interrupted what we know and love to do: play football. But at the same time we understand that it is for the greater good, for the health of millions of people.”
-Willian; source: Mirror
So say we all.