Coronavirus: Senseless to allow football to return while ‘lives are being lost’, says Charlton manager Lee Bowyer

Bowyer believes there are ‘too many hurdles’ to finishing the season

Tom Kershaw
Sunday 19 April 2020 10:58
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Coronavirus: How has sport been affected?

Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer believes there are "too many hurdles" to restarting the football season and that it would be senseless to allow play "while lives are being lost".

EFL chairman Rick Parry published an open letter this week detailing the leagues' plans to finish the season behind closed doors and broadcast every match either online or on TV in order to complete the season.

The Independent understands clubs have been advised to inform players to consider returning to training in mid-May. However, Bowyer says the risk would still be far too great for players in his squad whose wives are currently pregnant or have family in vulnerable situations.

"My honest opinion? I just think there are going to be too many hurdles," he told TalkSport. "Everyone wants the season to finish, we all do, because morally it’s the right thing to do.

"I just think there are too many barriers at the moment to say that we’re gonna get back playing cause we won’t be training in the middle of May like what they’re saying - that’s never gonna happen.

"Say we start playing again in June, the lads are then going to be going home to their families who might have met someone, or players who have had it are then going to mix with people who haven’t had it.

"We don’t know how people are going to react, we don’t know if people are going to want to come and play.​ We’ve got a couple of players at our place whose wives are pregnant, and when it first happened they said, 'sorry, we’re not training because our wives are pregnant'. And what do you say – ‘no, you have to come in and train’? You can’t do that! There are so many details nobody is thinking about.

"How are the players going to get tested ahead of NHS workers? It’s just not going to happen, I can’t see it, and then if you’re not finished by 30 June you’ve got the contract problem.

"I hope we do and I hope I’m wrong, I really do. If we’re playing behind closed doors.. football.. fans are part of it, if we have to do that to finish the season then great, we go ahead.​ But we’re still gonna have the players in contact all the time - it’s a physical game, it’s a contact sport. You’re not gonna be doing that in two months time, not with the way this virus has struck everybody.

"Look at Norman [Hunter], people are losing their lives and then what, you’re just going to allow football to carry on? I just can’t see it."

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