Serious thought must be given to the idea of postponing the football season in England due to the current pandemic, one club doctor has said.
Manchester City were forced to call off their match against Everton at short notice on Monday evening, with the new strain of the coronavirus discovered in London and the South East of the country causing real concern and causing the number of cases to spike.
Further down the league, there are nine fixtures postponed this evening due to the crisis, including seven in League One – including Rochdale’s clash with Crewe.
Dr Wesley Tensel has questioned the wisdom of continuing the current football season
Rochdale have been forced to postpone their next two matches in League Two due to the virus
Rochdale have also been forced to postpone their next fixture against MK Dons, and team doctor Wesley Tensel believes serious consideration must be given to stopping the current campaign.
‘These players are put under pressure to come out and perform when deep down they may have serious concerns – they’ve got young kids, they’ve got elderly family members,’ he told BBC Radio Five Live breakfast.
‘At the end of the day these players are human like everyone else and it sometimes begs the question, should the season still be going on?
EFL MATCHES CALLED OFF DUE TO COVID
Millwall v Watford
Peterborough v Charlton
Accrington Stanley v Sunderland
Bristol Rovers v Portsmouth
Fleetwood v Doncaster Rovers
Hull City v Lincoln
Rochdale v Crewe
AFC Wimbledon v Ipswich Town
Bolton v Morecambe
‘Personally I think in the middle of a pandemic and the spread, the numbers are rising, and the fact we have these Tier 4 places where people can’t travel but footballers are able to go in and out, take things back to the family, it’s probably not the wisest thing at the moment.
‘It’s probably controversial and there are other players, other doctors who would disagree.
‘As well as a team doctor I am a GP and I have helped out on Covid wards so I am seeing both sides and it just seems there is a bigger picture going on.’
Testing at EFL clubs has not been as persistent due to financial restrictions, but clubs like Rochdale are doing all they can to ensure their players’ safety.
However, as Tensel points out, it is almost impossible for the club to ensure there is no exposure to the virus for any staff or squad member.
‘It’s a very challenging time. It’s no different in the football situation. The virus is increasing sharply and it’s affecting everyone,’ he added.
‘The players are in a bubble, but obviously they have to go home. It’s not a proper bubble where they are together all the time. They’ll go home, they’ll have partners, some who work in the NHS or wherever who can potentially pass the virus on to them – especially this new strain which is more transmissible.
‘What we have to do is try and make it as Covid secure as possible and control the factors we can control. But inevitably there will be cases that occur away from the club and that will be brought back in, which appears to be happening up and down the leagues at the moment.’
Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker are among the Manchester City players to have tested positive
Bolton’s clash against Morecambe has been postponed in League Two on Tuesday evening