‘Missed opportunity’ to show respect for lives lost to coronavirus as Premier League return edges closer

By Jack Howes
May 31, 14.41

Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Micky Hazard believes football should have led the way in paying tribute to the people who have lost their lives due to Coronavirus. 

‘Project Restart’ took another step closer as the Premier League announced that clubs will return to action on June 17. No games have taken place since Arsenal head coach announced he had contracted the virus on March 13. 

Hazard, who played for Chelsea between 1985 and 1990, hoped that the world’s biggest sport would show togetherness throughout the health crisis. However, it looks as though the top leagues in Europe will finish the season behind closed doors.  

He said: “It’s a very difficult season to finish because of the number of lives that have been lost.

“Maybe this season being voided or whatever would be a mark of respect to the people that have died, people that are dying. It could be out of respect to the families from the football world.

“It is the most popular sport there has ever been. 

“It would have been amazing if football led the way and said ‘right, okay, we will dedicate this season to everybody that lost their lives and the families left behind’.”

Hazard was particularly sympathetic to Liverpool supporters who will miss out on the chance to celebrate their first league title win in 30 years due to the games be played without any fans in stadia.  

“Imagine being a Liverpool fan,” he said. “They are about to win the title, but they are not allowed to be present and celebrate with the team.

“Now suddenly, they are going to be deprived of that wonderful moment that their team wins the Premier League. Is that right? Definitely not.”

Social distancing measures on a football pitch is “laughable”

There have been several suggestions put forward in order to complete the season safely, and among them has been maintaining social distancing during matches. 

Hazard was very critical of the suggestion. He insisted that any restrictions placed on the players would not lend itself to the fast-paced nature of the sport. 

He said: “It’s laughable. It shows that whoever made the call has never played football at any level, never mind at the very top. 

“It is an instinctive game. Decisions are made in tenths of a second.

“And when someone scores, how do you stop people kissing when someone scores! The fact that they are having to say that should give them a clue that it should not be played.”

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