UEFA's medical chief upbeat on 2019/20 season resuming

A view outside UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland
Image: UEFA's medical chief is optimistic

UEFA medical chief Professor Tim Meyer has said it is "definitely possible" to plan for the suspended 2019-20 season to restart, a day after his FIFA counterpart warned against resuming play before September.

Speaking before France's Ligue 1 became the second major European league to be cancelled after the Dutch Eredivisie, FIFA's Michel D'Hooghe told Sky Sports on Tuesday that it was not possible to play football before social contact was permitted and that he felt September was a realistic target.

But Meyer, chairman of UEFA's medical committee as well as the newly-formed UEFA medical sub group examining issues around a return to play, took a different view.

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FIFA Medical Committee chairman Dr Michel D’Hooghe says health must be the priority when decisions are made about the resumption of football

"In discussing any return to playing competitive, elite level football, the health of the players, all those involved in potential games and the public at large is of paramount importance," he said in a statement.

"All football organisations which are planning the restart of their competitions will produce comprehensive protocols dictating sanitary and operational conditions ensuring that the health of those involved in the games is protected and the integrity of public policy is preserved.

"Under these conditions and in full respect of local legislation, it is definitely possible to plan the restart of competitions suspended during the 2019-20 season."

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Speaking on The Football Show, Gary Neville believes discussions over when football can return are currently being driven by economic reasons

'What is the risk we're willing to take?'

Speaking on Wednesday morning's edition of The Football Show, Gary Neville said he felt economic forces are driving talk of football's return in England and says authorities must weigh up the risk a restart would bring.

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"We're hearing different things every day, but I think if this was a non-economic decision, there would be no football for months," Neville said.

"What we're seeing now is that people are assessing risk. What is the risk we're willing to take to bring football back?

"You've got clubs who've got huge investments in this season, in respect to clubs at the top of divisions. There are big prizes up for grabs and huge economic loss that's going to be incurred and it does cloud minds, in terms of the level of risk people are willing to place on lives in order for the return of football."

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