Project Restart – Thumbs Up From PL BossesPeter Houghton
Project Restart is on! Premier Leauge bosses voted unanimously in favour of a “playing” conclusion to the season, with matches being played in their own stadiums.
And despite some safety officers being furloughed and others working from home, some training grounds will open up as quickly as today as the Premier League sets its sights on a start date in mid-June.
This, once again, raises the question of safety and responsibility for safety. It is understood that there exists a set of protocols for small-group non-contact training sessions as the players ready themselves for a different set of matches where spectators will be absent.
Yesterday’s announcement, following the video conference meeting, however, has not been without its controversy. I mentioned a couple of days ago concerns expressed by Watford captain and striker Troy Deeney. Troy is still unconvinced of the safety elements surrounding the project and has told his club he will not be returning to training. Troy has a young family and has correctly, in some ways, suggested there is something unsafe about travelling, living and training with up to 24 colleagues in close proximity when he can’t have a hair cut until mid-July! This may look like a one-man protest, but you have to respect a footballer who stands up his principles with the intention of staying safe and following the edict of the Government.
Deeney has been prepared to come forward with his personal views, unlike a number of other players who are concerned but prefer to remain anonymous. He claims the Premier League and their medical team has not provided the answers to “simple questions”. He is also concerned at the lack of additional screening for BAME footballers who are represented in every team these days.
Safety Officers will be returning to their stadiums with a whole new set of challenges and will have to get it right. Coronavirus Covid-19 is still a killer. Whereas yesterday saw 638 new cases and 74 deaths recorded in Germany, the first major European league to restart their elite football, the UK recorded 2711 new cases and 160 new deaths. It is still more of a problem here, but I suspect the scientists are predicting a reduction to the German levels before a competitive football is kicked.
Once again, I would suggest, if you have not already done so, you use John’s Coronavirus Risk Analysis document as a pre-cursor to writing your risk assessment, which will be required, I understand by the SGSA. We also have an example of a completed document that was carried out by Sue Watson at Leeds United who has told us it can be shared and we thank Sue very much for this and her professional approach to the document. We should not forget that in the early vestiges of the FSOA, Sue was the driving force behind the training for the Event & Match Day Safety Certificate, the fore-runner of today’s Level 4.
An article, including videos, from the Daily Mail is on the following link showing Troy Deeney expressing his concerns.