‘It has to be safe’ - City chief will not consider restart until players feel comfortable

Norwich City's players will have health concerns which must be satisfied before they can start training and playing 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City's players will have health concerns which must be satisfied before they can start training and playing Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Everyone involved in football may be frustrated by the coronavirus shutdown but Norwich City will not contemplate a restart until their players are satisfied they are not putting their health at risk.

Everyone involved in football may be frustrated by the coronavirus shutdown but Norwich City will not contemplate a restart until their players are satisfied they are not putting their health at risk.

The Canaries’ last game was a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United on March 7, leaving Daniel Farke’s team six points from safety with nine games to play before the pandemic sent the country into lockdown.

City’s sporting director, Stuart Webber, explained: “In fairness to the Premier League, and I’m sure the EFL, they’re doing lots around what does create a safe environment to train and play in?

“It’s easy for everyone to say ‘I’m bored, get the football back on telly, just get them lot back’ - well lots of these players have got wives that are about to give birth, so why would they risk potentially getting the virus, bringing it back and giving it to their pregnant wife?”

Norwich City's sporting director Stuart Webber has spoken about the complexities of the football season resuming 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesNorwich City's sporting director Stuart Webber has spoken about the complexities of the football season resuming Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

MORE: Potential loss of up to £35m forces Canaries to play it safe

The Premier League is determined to try and complete the season when safe to do so but it’s widely expected that would have to be behind closed doors, with government officials suggesting last week that social distancing guidelines could remain in place for much of this year.

Webber continued: “No player should be asked to return, or staff members, until people are very comfortable that the environment that you are asking them to return to is safe, because that is the most important thing.

“The big financial challenge is to come here but it doesn’t matter if you lose £18million or £20miliion, if you lose someone’s life, that’s horrendous and we can’t ignore that. We can’t discriminate with this virus and say ‘it’s okay for them but not for those’. It has to be safe and the players have to feel comfortable and that they trust what they are being asked to do.

“They have to trust that if they are being asked to play a game in a stadium, that all of the people in that stadium are also safe, whether that’s broadcasters, press, the ambulance crew, the police, whoever it might be.

“It can’t just be ‘go on then lads’ and chuck them back in because they have all get their personal circumstances away from work. They’re not all just young lads sat in their house by themselves waiting to play football. Most of them have got families and people around them and they have to protect them as well.”

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