FIFA Medical Committee Chairman Recommends No Games Before Sept. 1

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2020

A picture shows the FIFA logo during a press conference held by the president of the football's governing body at the FIFA Executive Football Summit on February 15, 2019 in Istanbul. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)
OZAN KOSE/Getty Images

If it were up to FIFA medical committee chairman Michel D'Hooghe, there would be no soccer games until at least Sept. 1. 

"Football remains always a contact sport and one of the first things that everybody says is that you should avoid contact for the moment," D'Hooghe said during an interview with Sky Sports (h/t Adriana Garcia of ESPN). "So football can only be possible if contacts can be possible again."

Bryan Swanson @skysports_bryan

NEW: Strong interview with FIFA medical chief Dr Michel D’Hooghe. Doesn’t want football to return before Sept 1 - “This is the most dramatic situation we have lived in since the Second World War.” More on @SkySportsNews #COVID19 https://t.co/rD77YY5I8w

He also called the worldwide coronavirus pandemic the "most dramatic situation we have lived in since the Second World War."

The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted the entire sports world, and there are various plans in place regarding potential returns depending on the country and leagues themselves.

Garcia provided a rundown, noting France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Argentina will not allow sporting events, even behind closed doors, until at least September. That means the 2019-20 French football season, including those of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, is effectively over.

Elsewhere, the English Premier League would like to resume in June and Germany's Bundesliga teams have resumed training. UEFA wants European domestic leagues to submit plans to return and finish their seasons by May 25 at the latest.

In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said teams in La Liga can start individual training May 4, while Italy's Serie A clubs voted unanimously to finish their season. However, neither country's health authorities have approved the plans yet.

As for the MLS in North America, the 2020 season is suspended through at least June 8 with no firm plan in place yet for a return. 

"Once all the protocols are signed off on, the stay at home orders have been removed, I think it'll be team by team [returning to training]," Portland Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson told reporters April 23. "It'll be individualized, where you're adhering to social distancing."


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