Project Restart: What players and managers have said about Premier League plans

Premier League chiefs will meet on Friday to iron out the final details of ‘Project Restart’ ahead of a crunch vote next Tuesday.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the United Kingdom had past the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic which has decimated the sporting calendar and resulted of the postponement of the domestic football season.

The government is said to be keen for football to resume in an effort to boost national morale and with clubs gradually returning to training, the prospect of a resumption on June 8 is gathering momentum.

Reaction to the proposals which include guidelines on regular testing as well as training ground and matchday protocols have been far from universally popular, however, among players, managers ,club owners and a series of legends…

Sergio Aguero – Man City

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‘The majority of players are scared because they have family, they have children, they have babies, parents.’

‘It does scare me but I have just been here with my girlfriend, I haven’t had contact with other people and they say that to contract the disease is very rare and difficult but they say that there are people who have it, and they don’t have symptoms and they can infect you.

‘That’s why I’ve stayed at home. You can be infected and you don’t know anything about it.’

Antonio Rudiger – Chelsea

‘Honestly, as far as I’m concerned they can give Liverpool the title. At the end of the day they deserve it, they’ve had a great season and are leading the table with, oh I don’t know how many points.

‘The thing is they were going to win the thing anyway, so I think the title is theirs ethically. Of course, I hope that the season can be finished and it will be sporting for everyone.’

Glenn Murray – Brighton

‘We have to look at the Premier League as the global brand that it is and the reason it is that big is because of the quality of play and the quality of players that are in it and to be hindering ourselves with certain things like face masks and things, it is going to be off-putting, it is not going to be natural and people are going to be ripping them off in the middle of training..

‘ think it is quite farcical. I understand why people are desperate to get football on – I am one of those people – but it’s got to be done in a sensible way, and at the right time, in a way that keeps not only the players and staff safe but there is so much that goes into a football game. There are going to be ambulances at training and at games: is it fair to take that [resource] from the NHS? It’s not as if it’s just two squads facing each other. There’s a lot more input to it and it puts a lot more people at risk. It’s going to be very hard to mark players at a corner if there are social distancing measures in place.’

Jose Mourininho – Tottenham

‘If we play the remaining nine matches this season it will be good for every one of us. It will be good for football, for the Premier League. If we play football behind closed doors I’d like to think that football is never behind closed doors. With cameras, it means that millions and millions are watching. So if one day we walk into this empty stadium, it will not be empty, not at all.’

Gary Neville – Sky Sports pundit

‘If health comes first, which is what they all keep saying, then there is only one outcome here at this moment in time. But I get the fact they want football back, it’s a feel-good factor and all the rest of it. ‘But how many players have got asthma? How many players have got diabetes? How many members of staff have got diabetes or asthma or respiratory problems? Have they assessed all these things and are they willing to put those people, those players, those members of staff, at risk for football?’

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