Premier League plans to restart season branded unworkable as clubs eye solution


Plans to put players under lockdown for a month to get the season finished have been branded unworkable – because clubs are too picky.

The hotel quarantine plan is one idea mooted for Friday’s next round of talks between the Premier League, EFL, Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association.

In a bid to conclude the season, one proposal is to squeeze remaining games into a condensed time frame in June, behind-closed-doors, with players kept in isolation to protect them from the risk of contracting coronavirus.

Stadiums, hotels and training facilities would undergo a “deep clean”, with the players under strict quarantine, to enable the season to be completed by mid-July.

But Christian Machowski, whose company ESEM specialises in travel management for top clubs across Europe, believes the plan is unrealistic, because of the particular demands of the elite teams when it comes to hotels and training facilities.

“There are so many factors that come into play,” said Machowski.

Premier League remains suspended and there remains no date to restart

“When clubs are looking to book hotels, one of the chief issues is what is an acceptable time to drive to a stadium?

“Teams don’t want to be stuck on a bus for 45 minutes to an hour, travelling to a game.

“Everybody wants the best for their team, but there’s only a small number of elite hotels that are suitable.

“For example, there are two or three hotels in London where all the teams tend to stay when they play there.

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“To find a venue where 20 teams can find facilities up to the required standard is just not workable.

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“In terms of training facilities, teams would also want to be as a close as possible, so that would present problems.

“Then you would have to quarantine the same hotel staff for three or four weeks.

“And if one team picked up an infection, whether it’s a player or member of staff, that’s the end of the tournament.

“It’s not about teams staying in luxury, it’s complicated because the infrastructure is so finely tuned for clubs in terms of what they need.”

Brighton have voiced their opposition to the proposal for a single-city Premier League finale.

Officials at the club have major reservations due to concerns over hotel accommodation, the number of pitches required and the intense fixture schedule.

Chief executive Paul Barber also has concerns about even discussing a return to football while the coronavirus casualty rate around the country soars.

“As creative as we want to be, people are losing their lives,” said Barber.

“This is a serious, serious situation. We’re totally driven towards completing the season but, at the moment, it is tough to talk about it.”

Machowski, whose company has handled almost 500 European games and training camps for top clubs over the past 24 years, reckons the number of teams involved also makes the plan impossible to pull off.

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“You could maybe get away with it in the Champions League, for example, with a mini-tournament, because you’re dealing with fewer teams,” said Machowski.

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“But here you’re talking about 20 teams and there’s so much at stake. It’s not like a pre-season tournament where there’s a trophy at the end.

“This is about titles, about relegation, qualification for the Champions League and Europa League, so no-one should be able to complain that they missed out because maybe the hotel, training facilities, travel or food wasn’t right.

“So it’s not really workable, for so many different reasons.”





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