When FIFA's medical chief believes football should resume for Portsmouth, Sunderland, Coventry and Ipswich

FIFA’s medical chief Michel D'Hooghe has warned the EFL not to restart Pompey’s League One season in June as it risks a second spike of the coronavirus crisis.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 5:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 1:57 pm

Plans for the Premier League season to recommence will step up this week, with Arsenal, Brighton, Tottenham and West Ham opening their training grounds for individual programmes.

Having been termed Project Restart, it has kicked into gear the government’s willingness to begin looking at the prospect of football’s return.

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However, not all leagues in Europe are following suit, with Holland’s Eredivisie season declared null and void and Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 in France also being announced over for the campaign today.

And D'Hooghe reckons football should not resume until the end of August, which would put Kenny Jackett's side's promotion push at jeopardy.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: ‘We are all subject to decisions at national level from the public authorities. It is very simple. Football suddenly becomes not the most important thing in life.

‘I will be happy if we can start, in a convenient way, the next championship and have nothing before the start of next season.

Michel D'Hooghe. Picture: Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

‘If they could start the season 2020-21 end of August or beginning of September I would be happy. Then they could eventually avoid a second attack from the virus, which is not impossible.

‘Everyone has to be very careful for the moment. I have heard in many countries they are thinking about playing football again, with or without the public.

‘In my long career I have seen many situations where there has been a balance between economic and health. Mostly the economics won, whether that was about jetlag or football at altitude or in extreme conditions such as pollution situations.

‘If there is one circumstance where medical arguments should win against economical arguments, it is now. It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of life and death. It is very simple.’