Chair of Fifa medical committee proposes that countries focus entirely on next season

By John McGinley

April 28, 2020

The chair of Fifa’s medical committee has spoken to BBC Sport about the viability of football’s return, proposing that countries focus on next season rather than a return to 2019/20 action.

Celtic, like clubs across Europe and the world, are currently waiting to see how the ongoing public health crisis develops and how it might impact the viability of playing football in 2020.

The SPFL have voted to look into resuming the 2019/20 campaign, though has determined it will end on an average points basis if that is not possible.

Michel d’Hooghe, Fifa’s most senior doctor, has now advised that countries should be very careful when making a decision on football’s return.

As quoted by BBC Sport, he said: “My proposal is if it is possible, avoid playing competitive football in the coming weeks. Try to be prepared for the start of good competition next season.

“There is a risk and it is not a risk that has small consequences.

“It can have consequences of life and death and that is why I am so careful and I ask everyone to be very careful before deciding to play again.

“I speak as a medical doctor, I don’t have to speak as an organiser of matches, but for the moment from my medical standpoint I would be very sceptical.”

There’s no football in France until September / (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)

With France and the Netherlands taking steps to end football until at least September 1st, even without crowds, there is a growing reality that seeing Celtic on the pitch is not realistic until the Autumn.

The comments of d’Hooghe certainly back that up.

The Scottish FA and SPFL have set up a number of groups looking at the various aspects of football’s return in this country, as we discussed earlier today, with Celtic have representation on five of the six panels.

That process looks to be a thorough and measured response to the current crisis, so hopefully the Hoops and the rest of Scottish football are in good hands.