Ahead of Friday’s latest crisis meeting, which could see some actual plans set in motion for the gradual reopening of football in England, the Premier League have apparently advised clubs to consider recalling those players and staff who chose to spend the coronavirus lockdown overseas.
One of those players is of course Chelsea’s Willian, who requested special dispensation from the club to allow him to travel to Brazil after the initial two-week isolation protocol was observed following Callum Hudson-Odoi’s positive test for COVID-19. Chelsea granted that permission and Willian has spent the last month back home with his family.
But with the growing expectation — however (un)realistic it may be — that the entire Premier League will be able to resume training next month and playing games a few weeks after that in June, the league want teams to be ready. And any player coming back to the country from overseas would be required to spend two weeks in self-isolation.
While nothing will actually happen until all the relevant plans are in place and all the relevant authorities have signed off on all the relevant measures needed, this is yet another small step in the direction of allowing us to entertain and distract ourselves with a little bit of proper-ish football in our socially distanced lives.
There are and will be plenty of concerns regardless of the decisions made, but everyone involved is saying the right things for now.
“We have reiterated that players are not just footballers but partners, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who share the same health concerns as everyone else during this pandemic.
“We have been assured of the intentions of all that there would be no resumption unless guarantees of safety could be given to the players. The overriding principle for all parties is the health and safety of all participants on and off the field and of course the wider public.”
-Bobby Barnes; PFA deputy chief; source: FourFourTwo