The Premier League has been suspended since March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, says that every option should be on the table to ensure player safety when the Premier League eventually resumes — including shortening the halves of soccer games to less than 45 minutes each.
Taylor was discussing player safety on the BBC Radio 4 program “Today” on Tuesday, and was specifically talking about how to combat player fatigue.
“We don't know the future but we do know what propositions have been put, what ideas have been put – the possibility of having more substitutes, games possibly not being the full 45 minutes each way, talks of neutral stadiums,” Taylor said.
There are 92 total games left in the Premier League season, and the current intention is for all of those games to be played. That’s a lot of games in a short amount of time, and Taylor said that players are concerned about their own health and safety.
“They are not stupid,” Taylor said of the players. “They would have to be satisfied that it is safe.”
According to the BBC, the Premier League has said that decreasing the number of minutes per half is “not on the table.”
The idea may not be on the table now, but some concessions will have to be made in order for the season to resume. The target date for the Premier League’s return is June 8, but that’s contingent on the UK government easing its lockdown restrictions. The BBC reported that the government will review those restrictions later this week, and the heads of England’s major sports (soccer, cricket and rugby) will be appearing at a committee hearing to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted them.
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