Lineker: You cannot play football and social distance

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In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, former England striker Gary Lineker said he understands why some players are nervous about getting back to playing because “you cannot play football and social distance.”

“Safety is absolutely imperative. You can't social distance playing soccer. You just can't,” Lineker said. “I saw something the other day that there was a report that, well, what about, they could tackle, but, when they tackle, they could look away to move them out of the way? Absurd suggestions like that. You cannot play football and social distance.”

He continued: “[Players] have families. Yes, they might be quarantined away from them for a while, but they are human beings. They will have worries. Some players will be desperate to get back to play. Other players won't. They will be nervous about getting back to play.”

Lineker also said he’s “nervously excited...but a little bit apprehensive” about the return of Germany’s Bundesliga.

“I think we're all looking at the German league as — well, they're setting the tone for everybody else because I think every league in Europe that wants to try and finish the season that was obviously interrupted is looking at Germany to see how it goes,” Lineker said. “So, yes, excited, but, at the same time, a little bit apprehensive.”

Lineker on what it’s like playing behind closed doors

“It’s not quite the same. I played in one game behind closed doors in my entire career because we had some fan problems in the crowd and it was a very strange experience. I imagine after a few games they’ll get used to it, but even watching football on television is very much different if you’ve not got a crowd.

“The crowd adds to the atmosphere and it becomes more exciting to watch on the television. It’ll be a little like training in many ways — but more important than training. I imagine they’ll get accustomed to it, but it’s whether television audiences get accustomed to it because it’s very different. I think Europe is watching very closely to see how it pans out. Fingers crossed it’s acceptable.”

Lineker on impact of coronavirus on English Premier League return

“I don't see why there's a rush. I understand why there's a rush, because they want to get it finished before next season starts, which is normally in August. So they want to start in June to get it finished, and then have a little break, and then start the next season.

“But, realistically, is next season going to be interrupted? Probably yes. So, my suggestion is take your time with this one. Yes, finish it, because I think that's the fairest thing to do. And then — then let's judge from there on. Obviously with the coronavirus, with COVID-19, it's very fluid. We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, let alone in four weeks' time. So, let's be patient.” — CNN


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