PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor has advised he believes Project Restart is achievable, as long as the right assurances are found for players.
Today the PFA will take part in discussions with the Premier League, government medical experts and league bosses to discuss the league going forward, with club captains and PFA representatives from clubs also attending the video conference call.
Taylor told the Daily Mirror: “We’ve got the best possible people available to answer the questions on different issues like testing, if someone tests positive, spitting, social distancing and BAME players with regard to the data which suggestions they are most susceptible. For certain it will be an opportunity for them to express their feelings, they will also need to be comfortable and confident with the answers they are given.”
Taylor has advised players will need to be open minded on the situation. The PFA has provided a breakdown of guidelines to all players, advising on increased risk for BAME players, health issues such as asthma and the potential return to training from mid May.
Taylor believes that if assurances can be found for players, the league will not immediately recommence to complete the remaining 92 fixtures, but instead be a step by step process: “I’ve said from the beginning, it’s one bridge at a time. But this is a key month. It’s one month at a time and we’ve got to take it slowly but carefully.”
“If you’re asking me, with the type of guarantees or assurances that would give confidence to the players then its achievable. We have to be open minded. There’s a balance between what you hope can be done and what is realistic to achieve”
Taylor has also said he understands players such as Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling voicing their concerns on football returning amid the pandemic, questioning the safety and moral in doing so; “They are reflecting how they feel and I fully understand that. Above all, everyone wants a guarantee and it’s not always as easy as that.”
Taylor does however feel assurance can be found for players with the help of medical experts and looking at other countries such as Germany who are looking to achieve league restarts as well. “I think we can show that everything that can be done will be done with the help of medical experts who are very up to date on viruses such as this.
“We are desperate for clarity but the more people want clarity the more difficult it is to give it. It’s trying to make sure that we get the right percentages on any assurances”