Coronavirus: Crystal Palace chairman supports Premier League restart

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has explained in a newspaper article why he wants the Premier League to restart and safety measures required for it.

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish said that Premier League matches could be safer for players than going to the supermarket.   -  Getty Images

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish thinks the measures proposed to allow Premier League games to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic would make them "one of the safest places".

The Eredivisie and Ligue 1 have ended their 2019-20 campaigns because of COVID-19, but the Premier League, along with Serie A, LaLiga and the Bundesliga, intends to resume when possible.

That will almost certainly involve games behind closed doors and potentially at neutral venues, although the prospect of resuming leagues at all while countries remain in lockdown appears unfathomable.

That was highlighted earlier this week when Bundesliga club Cologne reported three positive coronavirus tests, while Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero claimed some players would be "scared" to return for fear of contracting the virus and passing it on to family members.

However, in an article where he outlined why it is important the Premier League does all it can to return, Parish said an environment can be fostered that makes games possible.

"The issue of player and staff welfare has to be treated with the utmost seriousness," Parish wrote in The Sunday Times.

"We must bring the players with us, we must listen to them, we must put the health of them and their families front and centre whenever we play again. It should be not just about rendering it safe for them but also making sure they feel safe.

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"But I've seen all the proposals for training and travel and while there are challenges, those proposals offer a level of protection to players, staff and officials that I believe will render Premier League football one of the safest places in society to co-exist, much safer than a journey to the supermarket at present."

Parish recognised the physical contact element of sport and said plans were being worked on to reduce "to almost zero" the prospect of any player taking part in a game while positive for coronavirus.

Aguero's City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne suggested the Premier League would return because of the financial aspect, something which Parish did not shy away from.

He said "sporting integrity" was important, as was ensuring runaway leaders Liverpool are crowned champions.

"But, yes, it is partly about the money," Parish added. "And we should all care about the money. I'll tell you why. Nobody wins if the Premier League receives less money. Nobody.

"We are already facing losses no one can quantify — and if we don't finish the season we are entering uncharted waters."

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