FOOTBALL Sports News

Opinion: Let’s stop comparing ourselves to Germany, football is nowhere near close to returning in England

Maybe it’s the fact that we’re all cooped up inside, and the thinking of the excitement and enjoyment a football match brings is making us even more depressed. Maybe it’s the fact that whenever this does blow over, it will be a long, long time before the game returns to how it was just two months ago. Maybe it’s the frustration that nobody really knows when the end date is.

But my overriding emotion whenever I see anything to do with the return of English football is anger.

At the time of writing, over 34,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the UK. Even for those who’ve got it and have recovered. There’s no guarantee that they can’t get it again. Most importantly, at this stage there’s no cure.

To add to this, the thought of what the Premier League have dubbed as ‘Project Restart’ going ahead was made to look even more inconceivable last week, when Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion announced that a third player had tested positive for the virus. We are nowhere near being ready to resume playing.

I’m nearing the end of my degree in sports journalism. For the past 8 years of my life, I’ve lived football. Dedicating so much of my free time and money to travelling around the country to watch 90 minutes of a ball being kicked around, and everything that goes on before and after it. However, since the lockdown period began I’ve become sick of the game. It feels so irrelevant. 

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The pressure on football to return is understandable, livelihoods at stake. However, just like when we watched the pandemic sweep across Asia and into Europe but our government took no action because we carried the British arrogance of ‘it wouldn’t happen to us’, we can’t afford to let us rush back the game in this country which could ultimately cause even more deaths.

The factor pushing all of this through is of course money.

Many of those calling for the game to return and for things to ‘go back to normal’ aren’t talking about themselves and their middle class lives, where they can continue to work from home and social distance but now with an expanded range of leisure activities. They’re talking about low paid workers, going back into service jobs and putting their health on the line. 

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Some will look to Germany following the return of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga last weekend. The problem with comparing Germany and England is that one country has a competent government who’ve enforced strict rules, and a public who will actually adhere to the rules. We have the highest death toll in Europe.

As a country we need to alter our scope and look at what’s really important, before we waste our time trying to force back football and put more people at risk. Until we find a cure, bringing back football shouldn’t even be a discussion.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below or at @parklife_sport on Twitter.

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