‘Incomplete English season would be an embarrassment’

Sat, 2020-05-23 01:11

LONDON: Failure to conclude the Premier League and second-tier Championship seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be considered a “national embarrassment,” Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear has said.

Professional soccer has been suspended since mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak but the Premier League plans to restart the season next month while the Championship will vote next week to decide on how to end their season.

The German Bundesliga resumed last weekend without fans in attendance while other top European leagues are planning to restart their campaigns and Kinnear said it was time English leagues came up with solutions.

“England had some of the finest sports scientists and football administrators in the game and the time has come for us as a sport to stop repeatedly framing the challenges and start delivering on the solution,” Kinnear wrote in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“It would be a national embarrassment if the Bundesliga, La Liga or Serie A were to be able to complete safely and the first and fifth biggest leagues in the world were not able to follow suit if the context remained comparable.”

Premier League clubs started training sessions with small groups this week with a view of a possible return to normal ‘contact’ training next week.

Leeds are top of the Championship standings after 71 games and would be guaranteed promotion if the final table is decided by an unweighted points-per-game formula. However, Kinnear insisted they want to finish the campaign.

“If Leeds United wanted to be opportunist we could have seized on this ‘point-per-game’ commitment to push for an early curtailment in concert with some already very vocal self-interests,” Kinnear said.

“However, our intention has always been to do all we can to complete this season where we started it – on the pitch.”

German football

Separately in the Europe, Borussia Dortmund’s coach Lucien Favre said his club will again be without Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel when they travel to Wolfsburg on Saturday on the Bundesliga’s second week of action since it restarted.

Witsel has not recovered from muscular problems he suffered trying to regain fitness before last weekend’s resumption of matches.

But former Liverpool midfielder Emre Can is fit again and available for selection as Dortmund aim to keep their pursuit of leaders Bayern Munich on track with a victory.

Giovanni Reyna, the 17-year-old son of former US international Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan Reyna, is also set to play some part after what would have been his first Bundesliga start was thwarted last weekend when he injured himself in the warmup before the 4-0 win against Schalke.

Favre also said he was still hopeful German international Marco Reus, who injured groin muscles in February before matches were suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, could return to action before the end of the season.

“He still hasn’t trained with the team. We hope he’ll be able to return as quickly as possible and help us,” Favre said.

Dortmund trail Bayern by 5 points but face the reigning champions at home on Tuesday in a match that could prove crucial in deciding the outcome of the title race.

 

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Source: arabnews
‘Incomplete English season would be an embarrassment’