West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady insists Premier League clubs must make every effort to ensure that players and managers have a big say as to when football returns.
The CEO outlined the four phases for restarting the season, but she says England could go the same way as France, the Netherlands and Belgium in ending the campaign early if proper safety protocols are not put in place:
“The key here is to make the environment as safe as it can possibly be because we want to be able to restart the games and finish our season. And to do that we have to be ready – otherwise, we’ll end up like France, Belgium and Holland, who have all had their season curtailed.”
“The most important aspect of all this is not what we, as chairmen and CEO’s of clubs want the protocols to be, but that the players and managers agree and are comfortable with them and that they believe it is safe to commence contact training and play games. Without their approval this is going nowhere.”
It’s a very delicate situation. Football clubs are under heavy pressure to return to action due to financial reasons. Burnley, for example, have said they could go out of business by August if no football is played by then.
However, as Brady says, the safety of players and staff is also paramount, and they must be completely on board with the process of returning to training and playing games.
Brady suggests playing games behind closed doors and at neutral venues may be the only way forward, and with no vaccine expected until next year, reports suggest that plans are also being drawn up for next season to be played without fans.