Implementing “precautions” requires double effort and “enormous” capabilities
The Arab leagues are still anxious to make any decision to return “even if initially,” at a time when members of the sports community fear an unknown future and an endless crisis, waiting for the Corona virus pandemic to completely disappear, or to take strict and costly measures To bring life to clubs, stadiums and lounges.
In the midst of these fears, the Saudi Football Federation and the League of Professionals registered a brave step «despite its controversy» with a proposal that includes the return of the league on August 20 to resume the rest of the confrontations and crown the champion in an official capacity in addition to identifying the ascenders and descendants as well as the teams that reached the AFC Champions League .
Yesterday, Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Ashraf Sobhi, announced the partial return of training for sports activity next June 15, according to the Egyptian Cabinet, headed by Dr. Mostafa Madbouly.
Sobhi said in a statement: “We are studying with the Egyptian Football Association the precautions and all preventive measures that it will take,” calling on the federation to agree with the clubs on the return procedures in preparation for the resumption of activity.
For his part, the President of the Egyptian Olympic Committee, Eng. Hisham Hatab, explained in a statement that the return of the activity will be gradual and has many stages and many medical and precautionary measures to protect all athletes and participants in sports activity.
For his part, Ali Hamad Al Badawi, Chairman of the Referees Committee of the Emirates Football Association, confirmed that the committee will need eight weeks before the league resumes to prepare referees again to manage the matches.
The UAE Gulf Football League has been suspended since mid-March due to an outbreak of the Corona virus.
Al-Badawi said in statements carried by the Emirati newspaper, “Al-Bayan”, that the referees almost stopped training, with the exception of some individual exercises that they performed on the electronic platform, due to the month of Ramadan, and the lack of clarity in the competitions.
He said: “We are awaiting the decision to determine the date of completing the local competitions or not, whether from the Football Association or the Professional League, as well as clarifying the situation for the start of the new season, in order to implement the programs that we have prepared to equip the referees well.”
Al-Badwawi confirmed that the layoff period is long. He stressed that the committee needs time for the referees to be well prepared, and he said: “Initially, we decided to distract from the annual external camp for referees before the start of the new season, and our preparation for this season will be exceptional, locally, given the conditions that the world is currently going through, due to an epidemic. Corona Virus”.
Meanwhile, Jamal El Din Damerji, official of the Algerian Football Association’s medical committee, said that returning to training in the current health conditions is impossible given the outbreak of the Corona pandemic.
“The Corona virus is still spreading in Algeria, at an average of 160 new infections a day,” Damerji said in a statement to state radio. The government’s decision to compel citizens to use the masks means that the epidemiological situation is still dangerous. ”
He added, “In these health conditions, I think that it is impossible to return to training at the moment. Even if the health authorities decide to lift the quarantine, players must be subjected to quarantine for 14 days because they pose a risk before being allowed to return to training for a period of no less than 6 weeks, before the league resumes.
It is noteworthy that sports activity in Algeria has been suspended since mid-March, against the backdrop of the outbreak of the Corona virus, noting that the Ministry of Youth and Sports is still studying the options for return after the health authorities’ decision to lift quarantine procedures.
Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the largest segment of the Saudi Professional League League prefers the option to announce the cancellation of the season in light of the lack of clarity in this regard, provided that late August or the beginning of September is a tentative date for the start of the season.
But this option may not be accepted by the clubs that compete to win the league, led by Al Hilal, the leader who sees his great opportunity to repeat the scenario of last season.
As for the unit, it reserves the principle of cancellation if it results in not adopting the past results and the current arrangement of the league, making it a candidate to participate for the first time in the next edition of the AFC Champions League.
The Saudi Professional League Association had held a meeting with the presidents and representatives of the clubs “remotely” and in the presence of Yasser Al-Mishal, head of the Football Association, and asked them for their views on the rest of the season and the calendar of the new season to present them as proposals for study and to continue to communicate with the relevant authorities regarding them, especially the Ministry of Sports in addition to the Ministry Health and those concerned with following up on Corona virus developments.
The league was initially set on August 20 to resume the rest of the league matches, to end within a period of 35 days, during which the remaining eight rounds are held, except for the final rounds of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup.
Although some clubs are safe from relegation to the first league, they support the idea of cancellation in order to reduce financial expenses and rearrange their team papers for a new season more comfortable than there is completion of the rest of the season and then start a new version.
Dawood Al-Amishi, director of the justice team, said that there are no encouraging signs to complete the remaining matches of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Cup. He said that completing the rest of the league within the plan initially determined in the last third of August means raising the bill for financial costs on clubs and confusing scheduling next season’s competitions.
Al-Omishi stated in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that the majority of clubs agree in this aspect in terms of financial expenses over the capacity of clubs in the event of an appeal, as well as the pressure of matches to hold at least two games per week in a month that witnesses a very severe weather, in addition to the movement between the cities of the Kingdom By flying and taking all precautions it means more physical and psychological fatigue for players, technical and administrative bodies as well as club administrations.
He added: «There is a totally discouraging experience on the resumption of the league represented in the German League, which indicated one of the statistics of muscle injuries of up to 14 in the first rounds, and this is a high number of players with the competence of participants in a strong and large league in the world such as the German League where the Germans are known “Because they are one of the most fit players, but the appeal after a period of stopping was not appropriate.”
He pointed out that the pausing of the players in the Saudi league will exceed 5 months without official matches, and this is a long time period that may be the first of its kind, and even the intervals between two seasons do not reach this time period.
He explained that there are a number of professional players in the ranks of his team whose professional contracts will expire at the end of next June, such as John Ojo, Savas, Adama and other local people, and even with the decision of the International Football Association (FIFA) to extend their contracts, the club administration must sit down and reach an understanding with them in this regard to extend not only to two months But for more than 3 months if the completion of the league is approved.
He added: “There are things on the side of the players that can be considered easy, such as extension negotiations or otherwise, but some of them go through complicated circumstances in financial terms, especially in light of the high possibility of declining club revenues.”
He indicated that his team will seek to overcome all conditions in the event of an appeal and the players and the administrative and technical bodies will do everything in their power in order for the team to continue its advanced levels and positive results, which were strengthened by the important victory over the neighbor, the conquest, in the last rounds before stopping.
And he expressed his confidence that the clubs look to the public interest for them and the future of the league and choose the most appropriate for the majority, so that they do not entail heavy expenses and commitments beyond their capacity, in addition to confusing the schedule of competitions next season, which will witness important benefits for the Saudi teams and teams that require the players to be in a more comfortable position instead of Playing in a tight period of time on more than one front, which may lead to wasting the desired goals.
Fahad Al-Mudalaj, head of Al-Faisaly club, has assured Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that it is important for the solution to be consensual and based on an important issue, which is that clubs are not exposed to financial losses for clubs and do not affect the calendar of upcoming seasons.
Al-Mudalaj explained that there is crowding in the benefits for the teams and clubs, and therefore it is important to take into consideration reaching solutions that do not overburden the clubs and teams in the very important benefits awaiting them. He hoped that the discussion would also be saturated in the aspect of proposals to cancel or continue the league, so that all opinions would be put forward and the pros and cons would be studied, so that the majority opinion on this matter would be taken into consideration.
Saleh Al-Marshoud, Vice-President of Al-Raed Club, said that setting an initial date means continuing ambiguity, given that it cannot be definitively confirmed that this specific date will witness the appeal.
He pointed out that setting a “loose” date means that there are other circumstances outside the will that cannot be predicted, indicating that setting the initial date “far” in order to know all the accompanying circumstances coming in terms of improving the general health situation on which it depends.
He pointed out that the time is important to be appropriate and sufficient to establish camps and preparations in the appropriate form for clubs to make up for the period in which they were stopped, where it requires that matters be appropriate for flight schedules, visas and others. He stressed that it is important that the completion of this season’s league does not affect the calendar of the next season, although it is difficult to achieve this in the event of an appeal.
He emphasized that on a personal level, he sees that canceling the league is the most appropriate, while the position of Al-Raed Club represents neutrality in this aspect, as it will be accepted that the league be canceled or resumed according to the public interest that the meeting sees and what is in the interest of the country and the Saudi football whose teams and teams are waiting for important benefits.