London (AFP) – Brighton striker Glenn Murray fears Premier League football is being rushed back too soon, with death rates from coronavirus still stubbornly high in the worst-hit country in Europe.
Premier League chiefs hope to resume the postponed campaign in mid-June and want players back in full training in the next two weeks.
But Murray believes the Premier League is moving too fast in their attempts to conclude the season, with Britain’s official death toll standing at more than 36,000.
“Football isn’t necessarily a necessity — it’s a game, it’s a sport,” Murray told Sky Sports on Thursday.
“I mean, what if we go through all this rigmarole of trying to get back started, and we have a second peak and we’re stopped anyway?
“I just can’t understand after just sort of loosening the lockdown why we’re in such a rush to get it back. Why can’t we just wait sort of a month or so to see if things go to plan?”
The Premier League invited captains and bosses to share their thoughts on a return to action during conference calls on Wednesday.
West Ham midfielder Mark Noble and Watford forward Troy Deeney were reportedly critical of the resumption plan.
Murray, who was also on the call, is concerned training and matches could start and then have to stop if players test positive.
The league hopes to get the backing of clubs to restart at their next meeting on Monday, with the return of Germany’s Bundesliga this weekend providing a test case.
“Obviously we’re all going to be watching the Bundesliga because it’s football and we all love football,” Murray said.
“It’ll be nice to see a live sport on TV without doubt. But I think what we’re not taking into consideration is that Germany have only had 7,000, 8,000 deaths, I think, and they’ve got 20 million more people than us.
“We’re up to like 34,000 now — we’re the worst hit in Europe. No one seems to take that into consideration.”
Players are set to be given masks to wear during training, while social distancing will also be observed during the first phase before more contact is allowed.
Curtis Davies, a defender with second-tier Derby, is asthmatic and said wearing masks could hinder his breathing.
“It is going to be strange but I believe, if we want to get back to football, we’re going to have to accept it,” Davies told the BBC.
“Most of us players are obviously fit, but it’s totally different to being fit and running around with nothing on your face to running around the pitch with a mask.”
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