President of the Players’ Association Damiano Tommasi explains why training on turf is essential from May 4. “This decree could create more risks than anything else.”
The latest Government decree was expected to be identical to the Spanish version, allowing training with social distancing from May 4 and in small groups from May 18.
Instead, it included a bizarre caveat meaning citizens can run in the local park from May 4, but professional athletes cannot set foot inside a training facility, even if it would guarantee social distancing.
“We can find no logic in this,” Tommasi told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I am not talking about resuming the season overall, because that has so many unknown elements right now, but barring athletes from structures where they would be able to train alone and under observation seems strange.
“This is about the health of the players too, because this decree could create more risks than anything else. A return to full fitness is essential for a player after such a long lay-off, as it’ll avoid injuries and help them get into shape ahead of group training from May 18.
“I am pleased that more than 80 per cent of the clubs kept their players in check with daily training schedules they could perform at home, but it’s one thing to train inside a home or in a restricted space, quite another to run on grass. In fact, in the long run, that can be damaging to the muscles.”
The issue of fitness is even more important considering if and when the season does resume in June, they’ll have to play 13 Serie A games in six weeks.
“Let’s take it one step at a time. Even if there are no more games until next season, an athlete still needs to train in order to maintain his fitness levels. There is no risk of contagion if they are running alone and with social distancing.”
The biggest concern that the Government and players have is what happens if there is a new COVID-19 positive test within the football community.
“The important thing is that everything is clear on what to do if and when that happens. There need to be regular tests and a firm protocol on training, travelling and everything else,” added Tommasi.
“Football does have an important role in society and playing would give a sense of normality back to people, even if it’s behind closed doors. We want to be prepared and hope for good news going forward.”