The English football season is around the corner and fans can’t wait to get on with the new season but there seems to be a small worry of the COVID19 pigdemic that could put somethings on hold.
The English Football League popularly known as the Carabao cup is set to start this weekend with Bournemouth entertaining MK Dons on Saturday with Sheffield Wednesday taking on Huddersfield on Sunday.
According to reports Covid-19 infections remain high even though they are falling – and a nationwide record of self-isolation alerts from NHS contact tracing has led to worries of a ‘pingdemic’ spreading to football. Already a number of pre-season fixtures have been disrupted or cancelled as a result of outbreaks or close contact tracing issues in recent days.
Arsenal recently called off their US Florida Cup pre-season tour after a some staff and players tested positive for COVID19. Reports also indicate that Manchester United registered some players testing positive for the virus while Newcastle United has 3 goalkeepers who have had to isolate having tested positive.
What does this mean for Players with the COVID19 pingdemic Situation?
Over £5m was spent by the Professional Footballer’s Association in testing of players across English Football league. However, this season, there is no requirement for players to be tested by the Football Association.
Because footballers were in strict ‘elite sort’ bubbles and had far less interaction with the general public, both in their professional and personal lives, all parties agree that players are at greater risk of catching coronavirus or being ‘pinged’ as a close contact this season than they were last season.
The leagues are attempting to maneuver their way around this now that the restrictions for the general public have been eased. At the moment, this implies that clubs are not required to test their players.
All of the EFL’s clubs have been given instructions for both training and matchdays. There are two sets of protocols under that guidance: red and green. The green guidelines are used by the majority of teams, and they rely on regular screening to see whether any players or staff members are displaying signs of illness. This, according to the EFL, is preferable to doing nothing.
The Premier League will continue to conduct tests twice a week and will make the results public. Unlike last season, when players were subjected to PCR tests, this season they will be subjected to lateral flow tests in order to save money and expedite the process.
The number of players and staff completing these exams will be expanded to 100 as part of the Premier League’s plan. If any of the tests come back positive, a PCR test will be scheduled.
Will fans be allowed in the stadiums?
After the Wembley displays in the Euros, plans by the British government to proceed with having fans in the stadiums are on and so far, no restrictions have been put in place for that.
Stadiums will be allowed to have up to 20,000 fans in the stadiums and and any plans to have more fans in the stadium will be informed by observations made by scientists.
What is key to note is that no social distancing guidelines will be implement and the same time, fans can enter the stadiums without necessarily having vaccinated or even being required to wear masks.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.