Premier League's 12 June Return at Risk as Managers & Players Voice Concerns Over Safety

UEFA Champions League"Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur FC"
UEFA Champions League"Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur FC" | ANP Sport/Getty Images

The idea of a return from the Premier League has been discussed at length by league and government officials, but now players and managers have started to voice their opinions.

Given they're the ones who will have to go out and risk their own health, it seems pretty fair that they should have their voices heard, and it appears as though there are many players who are strongly against the idea of coming back right now.

Let's take a look at what has been said.

Long List of Concerns Emerge

The idea of returning on 12 June has been dealt an enormous blow as Premier League managers and players drew up a lengthy list of their issues with the idea of coming back so soon.

As noted by The Times, several conference calls were recently held to try and finalise the details of a potential return to training on Monday, but that idea was met with fierce resistance from a number of managers and players across the league.

Managers are concerned that government pressure is forcing the Premier League to return too soon as players would be nowhere near full match fitness if training is largely limited to non-contact, while there are also serious fears about their liability if a player contracts coronavirus after returning.

As for players, they feel they need four weeks of contact training before returning to matches, but they are yet to receive any suggestions as to how that environment would be kept safe.

Finally, clubs are worried about the revelation that they will only be permitted to conduct tests on 40 people at the club, meaning some non-playing staff would likely have to go without testing.

José Mourinho Leading Bid to Delay Return (Maybe)

UEFA Champions League"Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur FC"
UEFA Champions League"Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur FC" | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Several managers are against the idea of coming back so soon, but The Mirror note that Tottenham Hotspur boss José Mourinho has emerged as somewhat of a leader figure.

Mourinho was adamant that players need at least a month to get themselves back to peak shape. As of now, the plan is to return to non-contact training on 18 May, which would only leave three weeks to get ready for games, despite not actually simulating any match action during training as contact would largely be banned.

But hey, can't they just turn their heads when they're tackled? That's a great idea.

Update, 13:57: Jose Mourinho has insisted that he's 'desperate' for the Premier League to come back, and...basically just shot down this storyline. So. Pinch of salt.

Not only are their concerns that players could become more susceptible to injury without proper preparation, but there are fears that the quality of football would actually be pretty rubbish as nobody would be in good shape.

Championship Planning Early Return But Problems Remain

The Mirror state that Championship officials are determined to push ahead with a return, and a date of 6 June has been provisionally suggested.

However, John Percy notes that returning to full training was recommended to be delayed until 25 May, and given players from that division want at least three weeks to prepare themselves, a return in early June isn't looking good.

Leagues One and Two are expected to be ended prematurely, with a points-per-game system expected to be used to decide the final standings, but playoffs will still be held.

Championship Planning Wage Cap

Teemu Pukki
Aston VIlla v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

With football's finances expected to be a little off for a while, Championship officials have discussed the idea of implementing a wage cap.

A yearly bill of no more than either £15m or £20m was suggested, and any team whose wages exceed that (such as relegated Premier League sides) would be restricted to signing players on a league-average £10,000-a-week until their finances fall in line.

Merseyside Police Happy for Football to Return at Anfield

Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

One of the biggest concerns over allowing teams to return at their own stadiums is the situation at Anfield, where there are very real fears that thousands of Liverpool fans would gather to celebrate their imminent title triumph.

Fortunately, The Mirror note that Merseyside Police are ready to get behind the government's plan to police games, so a return to Anfield is now possible.

That means that scrapping the switch to neutral venues is also viable, and with many clubs pushing to end their season at their own stadiums, this will come as good news for most.

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