Premier League: Clubs' job to allay players' concerns about health risks before resuming league, says Sam Allardyce
'I think the biggest challenge for players will be dealing with the mental side,' wrote Allardyce in a column
Premier League clubs must reassure players there will be no repercussions if they are unwilling to risk their health by returning to action during the COVID-19 pandemic, former England manager Sam Allardyce has said.
Several players have expressed concerns about the league’s plans to resume amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 4.64 million people globally, causing over 310,200 deaths.
“Getting the players fit in four weeks could be done, but that’s the least of their worries. I think the biggest challenge for players will be dealing with the mental side,” Allardyce wrote in a column for The Times.
“My first point of call as a manager in this situation would be to speak to all the players ... find out whether they want to play or not. I’d reassure them there would be no repercussions if they decided they would find it too difficult to play.”
Clubs will hold an emergency meeting later on Monday to vote on a return to group training as part of “Project Restart”, which envisages a resumption in June.
“We will all want to play but we’ll all want to play under safe conditions,” Allardyce added.
“If they’re too scared ... they won’t be able to perform to their best and then they’ll start getting criticised. Some players won’t want to play and that has to be respected.”
There will around 22,500 spectators for England's first two group games, against Croatia and Scotland at Wembley, with the stadium running at 25 percent capacity.
Already delayed by 12 months because of the pandemic, the Copa America nearly unravelled when original co-hosts Colombia and Argentina fell through at the last minute — the former because of violent anti-government protests, the latter because of a surge of COVID-19.
Thapa tested positive on Wednesday, a day before India lost 0-1 to Asian champions Qatar in their joint World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers in Doha.