International break poses health risk as at least 16 players test positive for Covid-19
The English Premier League is due to return this weekend after a 2-week hiatus due to an international break. Unfortunately, 16 players due to return to England have tested positive for Coronavirus. This will mean that those players will have to self-quarantine and will miss fixtures as a result. That list includes Egyptian internationals; Mohamad Salah who plays for Liverpool as well as midfielder, Mohamed Elneny for Arsenal. Both players have been regular starters for their respective clubs. The large number of players testing positive after returning from representing their countries is concerning amongst supporters.
Byron David who hosts Beyond the Game on Lotus FM believes that all international football should be suspended due to the health risks of the players.
“Opening up travel between borders is mainly to blame for this second wave that’s sweeping across Europe more intensely and the world to a lesser degree”, said David.
Aside from the health risks associated with international travel, it is the club football which will be affected negatively. Liverpool will be facing English Premier League leaders Leicester City. Liverpool are currently third. However, they have several first team players who are injured. That list includes Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander Arnold and Jordon Henderson. The exclusion of Salah will be a negative but still manageable according to David.
“I think Salah will be missed by Liverpool; however, they have abled replacements in Diogo Jota and will see Sadio Mane return”
Arsenal take on Leeds United. David believes that Elneny will be a big and unnecessary lose for Arsenal.
“Elneny has had a better season than most were expecting. He’s been a regular starter for Arsenal so I believe that Arsenal will feel hard done by,” stated David.
According to David there could be a safer way for international football to still take place.
“Host the matches in one or two nominated countries. You minimize travel to several regions and contain all the footballers to those specific countries. Almost like a world cup. Say if it were in England. All the countries can play their matches at the various stadiums,” he concluded.
Lasanthan Pillay, a member and organiser of the Arsenal Supporters Club Durban believes that international football should be suspended.
“International football should be cancelled for the time being. Players travelling internationally are at risk to contracting the virus. There’s conflicted legislation to allow soccer to take place which is what I do not agree with. This will result in the virus spreading faster which risks more people’s lives,”Pillay said.
Picture: Daily Express