If it were up to FIFA’s chief doctor, the current European seasons would not resume.
Michel d’Hooghe, the chair of FIFA’s medical committee, told BBC Sport on Tuesday that he does not think leagues in the old continent should resume. Soccer around much of the globe has come to a halt because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but there have been increasing talks of restarting some of the competitions in the coming weeks.
That is something d’Hooghe does not agree with, however.
“My proposal is, if it is possible, avoid playing competitive football in the coming weeks,” d’Hooghe told BBC Sport. “Try to be prepared for the start of good competition next season.”
Currently, European leagues have a deadline of May 25 to inform UEFA as to whether they plan to complete or cancel their current campaigns. UEFA’s preference is for seasons to be finished, but not every top tier will have the chance. For instance, Ligue 1 just had their season ended on Tuesday after the French prime minister put a ban on sporting events until September.
Leagues like the German Bundesliga and English Premier League are currently planning to resume action in the coming weeks, however.
“There is a risk and it is not a risk that has small consequences,” said d’Hooghe. “It can have consequences of life and death and that is why I am so careful and I ask everyone to be very careful before deciding to play again.
“I speak as a medical doctor. I don’t have to speak as an organizer of matches, but for the moment from my medical standpoint I would be very skeptical (of returning to play).”