‘I think it’s important for football to take its place’: Chelsea manager Frank Lampard insists it would not ‘sit well’ with him or the public if Premier League stars get coronavirus tests before frontline NHS staff and key workers
- Premier League officials are plotting a new system to test players and staff
- But Frank Lampard insists it must not come at the expense of frontline NHS staff
- The Chelsea boss understands the nation would love to see football return
- But the former England midfielder said safety for key workers must come first
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has said it would not ‘sit well’ with him if Premier League stars were favoured to undergo regular coronavirus tests ahead of frontline NHS staff and key workers.
Sportsmail revealed on Thursday that top-flight officials involved in plotting football’s return have discussed implementing a system that will see clubs test all players and staff for the infection on a matchday following games.
They would then aim to have the all results turned around within 48 hours and ready to present to the manager on the morning of the second day after the game.
Frank Lampard has said it would not sit well with him if players were tested before key workers
Sportsmail revealed Premier League chiefs hope coronavirus test results can be fast-tracked
But Lampard insists that the volume of tests that such measures would require does not justify Premier League players pushing ahead of key workers in the coronavirus testing queue.
‘When we talk about the testing that we’re gonna be doing, we’re gonna have 70 or 80 staff minimum if we’re gonna restart training, and if we’re gonna test regularly that’s fine,’ he told BT Sport.
‘But when we’re looking around the world, I don’t know the testing numbers for NHS and care workers and people that do these incredible jobs over the last two months or so, I don’t think it would sit well with me or anyone if we didn’t make sure people were being tested who are in that front line.
But Lampard has insisted the focus remains testing those people working on the front line
Speaking to BT Sport, Lampard also said football must understand its current place right now
‘I think it’s important for football to take its place. After that we probably have the football integrity issue, neutral venues, out of contract players of which we have a couple of major players, so there are many conversations and I think that’s very clear at the minute.’
Lampard also admitted he understands the burning desire to see Premier League action return but insisted it cannot come at the price of putting people’s lives further at risk.
‘I’m very aware of the nations desire to get football back on because of what it means, we love our football and I’m very aware of the obstacles that many people will have to go through,’ he continued.
‘So I’m not pointing any fingers, we’re all working in the same direction that we want it back, but we know all the steps to get that in place because we cannot risk the health of players and staff that are working in football – we can’t.
Lampard said he understood the desire to see football return but not at the expense of lives
‘The amazing work the NHS have been doing, health workers who have become the heroes have been doing.
‘Footballers don’t really proclaim to be the heroes but I think it’s certainly made us realise that the people on the front lines are our real heroes, so we have that to put into perspective then we’ll see where the football goes.’
The former England midfielder was also keen to highlight the importance of player and staff safety if and when training does resume, and admits no such talks with players and managers regarding that matter have taken place as yet.
The Chelsea boss also welcome that player safety will come first when training resumes
‘There are a lot of unknowns at the moment but the things I welcome is that player and staff safety will come first, and the fact they’re gonna have conversations with players and managers within that, because that hasn’t really happened to be honest at Chelsea.
‘I’m in contact with Bruce Buck and we speak regularly and I’m in touch on that side of things. The idea of safety of players and staff is huge.
‘The country has practised social distancing so well and the fact we all play this contact sport that we’re all desperate to see for a form of escapism, to watch football and play football and train – how are we not gonna not put the players at risk within that, in terms of how the next few weeks will look if that can happen.’
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