West Ham executive: 300-500 staff needed for fanless EPL games
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Premier League – Sheffield United v Brighton & Hove Albion – Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain – February 22, 2020, General view of the Premier League logo before the match REUTERS/Andrew Yates/

At least 300 people will be required in Premier League stadiums even if games are played without fans when the coronavirus-halted season can resume, according to a West Ham executive.

The 20 EPL clubs held a conference call on Friday when the league said they agreed the objective remains to complete the season, with teams having up to 10 games each remaining.

The earliest the league can restart is June, with Britain in lockdown until at least the first week of May.

“Police officers will need to be at games even if they are behind closed doors, as some supporters will travel to the stadium, even if they cannot come in to watch,” West Ham vice chair Karren Brady wrote in her column in Saturday’s editions of The Sun newspaper. “But the police will want to ensure attending matches does not drain resources away from other matters.

“Everyone at the stadium – and even behind closed doors this is about 300-500 people – including security, staff, medical officers, players, referees and media, will have to have temperature checks, fill out health questionnaires and observe social distancing. All this is manageable but what if a player gets injured, where do we send him? It can’t be to an NHS hospital that is already under pressure … so then what?”

Brady is unsure how long it will take for players to regain fitness.

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“Players will have been able to retain some physical fitness at home, but if social-distancing rules are still in place, physical match-play training will not be allowed,” Brady wrote. “You can’t tackle from two meters away. So, how match-fit will players be if the season commences, as we all hope it will, by mid-June?” West Ham is 16th in the 20-team table and out of the relegation zone on goal difference. [A.P]

 

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