Coronavirus: ‘English Football Should Not Restart Until Players Tested’
The football season in England should only resume once all players have been tested for coronavirus, says the chief executive of the League Managers’ Association (LMA).
But Richard Bevan told BBC Sport “tests must be made available first” to NHS workers and patients.
“Once that’s happened, by all means let’s access it in sport,” he added.
Professional football has been postponed indefinitely because of the pandemic.
Bevan has criticised the English Football League (EFL) for failing to consult his members over an estimate that the season could be completed in 56 days once it restarts.
This week clubs were sent a letter in which the EFL said it was “hopeful” of a conclusion in the summer months.
Bevan described the proposed schedule as “amazingly tight”, adding: “You’re going to have to get the support of the coaches and managers. You do not do that by not talking to them. You do not get the end-product or working together if you just send a letter out without actually taking their advice or thoughts.”
Bevan said he had now asked the EFL to discuss the restarting of the season with the managers from each league.
“You’re going to have to get the goodwill of the players because you’re going to have at least three weeks of training to get back on the pitch at least,” he said.
“The most important thing guiding every principle is health, and getting back on the pitch without ensuring fully-fit players is a very big call to make. I would like to see more debate.”
Bevan thinks testing is key to getting back to action as soon as possible.
“We’re not really going to see more accurate forecasting about when we can get on the pitch until the end of April,” he said.
“In Germany, if you look at discussions about coming back in May, that’s probably a direct result of some very clear thinking from their government because they’re doing 50,000 tests a day.
“In this country, we’re doing 10,000 per day, although the government are targeting 100,000 each day by the end of the month.
“Our managers do not want to be back on the pitch unless the players have been tested. But at the same time, the government must confirm that is OK because the tests must be made available first – if there’s a shortage – to care, workers, patients, NHS staff and their families.”