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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » Fabrice Muamba says player will "think twice" over coronavirus return

Fabrice Muamba says player will "think twice" over coronavirus return

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Former Wanderers star Fabrice Muamba believes players will have serious concerns about returning to competitive football while the world remains affected by coronavirus.

Bolton’s squad remain on course to return to the training ground in mid-May with a view to playing the remaining 10 games of the League One season from June onwards.

The club say they will bide by the EFL’s wishes on resuming the season – and the league are expected to get some guidance from the Government late next week on whether their schedule is still realistic.

Concerns have been voiced, however, about how safe a contact sport can conceivably be regardless of how rigorously players are tested and circumstances controlled – especially outside the Premier League.

Muamba admits he would have concerns about playing while the general public remain on lockdown.

“It is such a difficult set of circumstances,” he told The Bolton News. “Mentally you have to try and prepare to play sport but not knowing how it might affect your loved ones. There are a lot of problems I can see that need to be solved while there is still no cure.

“You have to look from both sides. Experts will know how safe they think it will be, clubs will get advice, but players will definitely be thinking twice.

“And what happens if two weeks after we start playing if someone comes down with the virus? Did they get it on the training ground? Did they get it at home?

“The number one priority must be players’ safety, everything else should be second.”

Muamba also has reservations about how stringent clubs will be on testing for individuals who may have access to stadia, even behind closed doors.

“They may test players and tell fans to stay away – but are they testing backroom staff, are they testing their families?

“Are they testing media who come into the stadium?

“This changes a lot of things for people and I hope the right decisions are going to be made to keep everyone safe.”

FIFA’s medical chief Dr Michel D’Hooghe has also advised authorities to shelve plans to return until September.

Some Premier League clubs have now opened their training grounds to allow individuals to use facilities – and Oliver Dowden, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, said he hopes to have top flight football “up and running as soon as possible”

D’Hooghe argued: “The world is not ready for competitive football,” he said in an interview with Sky Sports News.

“I hope this can change very quickly but I think it is not the case today, you need more patience.

“Football is a contact sport and everybody says you can avoid contact.

“It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of life and death. And that is why I ask everybody to be very, very careful before restarting competitions.”


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