Soccer Played Through the Pandemic. Now It Has to Do It All Again. - 2 minutes read

Most found that players followed the rules to the letter, doing little more than cloister in their homes — except for training sessions and games — during the two months it took to finish the season.

“We expected them outside of the training grounds to follow the government advice in relation to social distancing at the time, in relation to hygiene, in relation to where they would visit,” Richard Garlick, the Premier League’s director of football, said. “They were doing that with the mind-set of, ‘We want to get restarted, we have got these protocols in place.’ They did all the right things.”

There were occasional “aberrations,” as Garlick called them: a handful of Premier League players caught holding lockdown parties, or visiting friends, or inviting acquaintances to their homes. In Germany, the coach of Augsburg, Heiko Herrlich, missed his team’s restart after he broke quarantine to buy toothpaste. In Spain, La Liga officials scoured social media for potential violations after some Sevilla players were pictured enjoying a barbecue together.

“We quickly contacted the clubs and reminded them very strongly what responsibility they had,” Ortega said.

The Premier League posted a permanent delegate at each club’s training facility to ensure compliance and to prevent any team from bending the rules to gain any advantage over its opponents at a time when the type of training that was permitted was governed by social distancing. “It was just making sure there was a level playing field and no one was secretly doing anything,” Garlick said. “And they weren’t, because they realized the risks.”

Source: New York Times

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