Byard: Football Will Have to Wait
Thursday, 26th Mar 2020 16:29
Town physio Matt Byard says football shouldn’t return until the current coronavirus restrictions are lifted and the crisis is well under control.
Currently, fixtures are suspended until April 30th with the EFL having told players not to return to training until the start of the month but with it appearing certain the hiatus will be longer, the Government having subsequently put the nation on lockdown.
“There is only one thing that is in control at the moment and that’s the virus,” Byard, pictured above with Luke Garbutt, told the club site.
“I don’t think we can start talking about dates for a return to football until the Government says things are levelling out and they are getting on top of it.
“We have got the 12-week social isolation in place for those most at risk, we are all in lockdown for three weeks and the social distancing rules are likely to go on long after that.
“We don’t know how long this is going to last for. My personal view is that football waits until it’s deemed safe for players to return to training and that can only be when restrictions that we have in place are lifted and the virus is under control.
“Only then can we start to look at a timeline for games to resume and obviously the longer the players are off training, the longer you need to get them back to a good physical condition to play games and reduce the risk of injury.
“I hear talk of trying to finish the season in the space of three weeks or so when players will be asked to play three or four times a week.
“Physically that would be one of the biggest challenges I would have heard of given the circumstances they would be approaching that schedule.”
Regarding the suggestion that games be played behind closed doors, Byard added: “Tristan Nydam suffered his injury [broken ankle] in a pre-season friendly [at Notts County in July].
“That was near enough a game played behind closed doors but he still needed urgent medical attention from the NHS, and subsequent surgery. I don't see how we can make any extra demand on the health service presently.
“Until the Government deem it suitable and pressure on the health service is relieved, I can’t see why we should be putting dates on the season starting or players training.”
Town have eight games of their League One season left to play, five of those at Portman Road.
The Blues would face a significant loss in revenue if those matches were to be played behind closed doors with home fixtures bringing in broadly around £100,000 each in matchday tickets plus other income such as programme and concourse refreshment sales, although they would save on some costs such as policing and stewarding.
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