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Football Thread 2020/2021


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Given that they've been told the tie can't be postponed, because for some reason Spurs being unable to reschedule means they should win it apparently, they're going to put out the first 11 people they find outside the ground if they can and dare Spurs to not turn up.

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5 hours ago, Stoppy2000 said:

And Spurs are due to travel to Europe for a game on Thursday. It can't be safe to do so surely?

Spurs have regular tests, but teams in the EFL don't, and the one test Orient did off their own backs saw their team identified as having covid-19.  Spurs, because they are regularly tested, are fine for the game on Thursday, especially as they also have to get tested in order to leave the country for games abroad, via UEFA's Return to Play Protocol.

 

Besides, Spurs haven't come into contact with the Orient players, but the teams they played recently have and they are the the ones who will need regular testing to ensure that it hasn't spread, or if it has, the spread is limited.

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24 minutes ago, Smoothy said:

Spurs have regular tests, but teams in the EFL don't, and the one test Orient did off their own backs saw their team identified as having covid-19.  Spurs, because they are regularly tested, are fine for the game on Thursday, especially as they also have to get tested in order to leave the country for games abroad, via UEFA's Return to Play Protocol.

 

Besides, Spurs haven't come into contact with the Orient players, but the teams they played recently have and they are the the ones who will need regular testing to ensure that it hasn't spread, or if it has, the spread is limited.

Yeah as soon as Orient players tested positive the game tonight was a non-starter. 

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Sky report that Spurs paid for the Orient test, which was an incredibly sensible precaution on their part. Can see small teams being against this going forward if games get called off or even awarded against them - you can't have teams playing each other without testing, how is it not part of all football at present.

 

Spurs season would have been in chaos if this game actually had gone ahead.

 

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11938/12078046/coronavirus-leyton-orient-vs-tottenham-in-carabao-cup-called-off-after-positive-tests

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How the fuck have the EFL allowed the leagues to start back up and not insisted on or funded testing for players and staff.

 

Especially when they were having test events with fans.  The players wouldn't, in theory, be anywhere near the fans, but the ground staff (stewards, etc) could have been in contact with players and fans.

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West Ham manager and players having it feels like 1) nothing is really in place to keep Prem footballers in any sort of bubble and suddenly feels like football could stop. 2)  Case numbers are worse than reported.

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2 hours ago, Ork1927 said:

How the fuck have the EFL allowed the leagues to start back up and not insisted on or funded testing for players and staff.

 

They have no money. Certainly not £5k to drop on tests each week per team in League 2.

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article on the Athletic today about COVID 19 testing in the EFL and the costs - I get its expensive and they don't have the money, but that shouldn't just mean lets carry on and hope for the best.

 

If I was a PL team who's EFL opponents refused the offer of testing then I'd refuse to play them. 

 

 

Spoiler

The coronavirus outbreak at Leyton Orient has forced football in the lower leagues to address a crisis they had hoped to avoid this season.

A high number of positive cases recorded over the weekend forced the postponement of the League Two club’s Carabao Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur and gave the EFL another headache on the day the government confirmed some fans will not be able to attend games next month as planned.

Later on Tuesday night, West Ham manager David Moyes and players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen were told they had tested positive for COVID-19 as they prepared for their Carabao Cup tie against Hull City. All three left the London Stadium and the match went ahead after both sides and the EFL’s medical advisors agreed “relevant protocols had been followed”.

Players and staff at Hull, however, had not been tested ahead of the tie because it is not compulsory in League One. West Ham said Hull “opted not to accept” their offer to be tested before the match, with the Yorkshire club understood to want to follow EFL guidelines.

Tests took place twice a week at Championship clubs when play resumed after lockdown last season but the operation was scaled back for pre-season and regular testing is no longer mandatory in the Football League.

So, with infection rates rising again in the UK, what does this mean for COVID-19 testing and the integrity of the EFL and its competitions for the rest of the season? Should the lower-league clubs do everything they can to play on and keep themselves going or should there be regular testing in the EFL — and, if so, who will pay for it?

The Athletic answers the key questions…

What’s happened with Leyton Orient?

In the hours that followed Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Mansfield Town in League Two, tests were carried out on all players and staff ahead of the scheduled Carabao Cup tie with Tottenham on Tuesday. It was primarily considered a “safety” issue by the Premier League club, who paid for the tests.

Leyton Orient confirmed on Monday that “a number of the first-team squad” had tested positive. It is understood that figure was as high as 15 players. Those affected were all told to self-isolate for 10 days, ensuring the club’s money-making date with Spurs could not go ahead as planned. Orient stood to make an estimated £150,000 in broadcast fees and commercial revenue.

Mansfield, the team Orient played on Saturday, have been left unimpressed by events and were awaiting their own test results on Tuesday night. One senior club official at another EFL club said they thought Orient had been “completely reckless and amateurish” but Orient defended their approach. “We have all of our procedures documented and regularly reviewed, whether that’s obvious things like social distancing, wearing of masks, spraying of sanitiser. We follow rigorous guidelines not only at the stadium but on the training ground as well,” the club’s chief executive Danny Macklin told The Athletic.

Orient and the EFL say they are now “conducting a thorough review of the club’s COVID-19 secure procedures”. There is still hope, however, the Carabao Cup tie against Spurs can yet be rearranged after it was postponed just two hours before kick-off.

“That’s very much our desire and something we’ll be pushing for,” added Macklin. “We believe there’s enough flexibility in the schedule to accommodate the game and subsequent fourth round. This gives teams up and down the land a chance to review all of its procedures as well as its testing regime.”

Why have the EFL decided against mandatory testing this season?

The EFL primarily point towards the low number of positive test cases recorded when the action resumed last season. Over 99 per cent of all tests came back negative and figures published by the EFL on July 22, the final day of the Championship campaign, did not see a single positive case from 3,555 players and staff tested across three divisions over one week.

Those numbers, in line with the falling rates across the UK, led the EFL to change its stance for the 2020-21 season. Tests were held at the start of pre-season, midway through and then again ahead of the new season beginning on September 5 and, after that, the EFL advised its clubs to only test players or staff if showing symptoms. There is also substantial evidence to suggest there is a low risk of transmission in an 11-a-side game outdoors, if correct protocols are followed.

Cost, though, is an enormous factor. There has been an understandable reluctance from the governing body to place its clubs under an even greater financial strain. The loss of matchday revenue has pushed clubs into trouble, with EFL clubs losing an estimated £20 million a month in gate receipts and commercial income, and making testing mandatory would only increase the hardship.

Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling painted a bleak picture. “Getting fans into stadiums could be the difference between clubs surviving or failing,” he wrote in a club statement on Tuesday, outlining that just £8,000 had been made from streaming their League Two game with Bolton Wanderers as opposed to a forecast £54,000 in gate receipts.

But is a private COVID-19 test that expensive?

The sums involved have varied from club to club but the cost of one test has ranged from £100 to £150. Even with a skeleton squad and coaching staff of 30 individuals tested, as clubs in the League One and League Two play-offs attempted in June and July, that is an outlay in the region of at least £3,000 per round of testing.

The reality, though, is that the figures involved are much higher. The size of squads in the Championship, plus the support staff they rely upon, mean upwards of 80 people would need to be tested twice a week. That comes in at least £16,000 every seven days.

Championship clubs were tested twice weekly in line with the Premier League during a restarted season in June and were left with a six-figure bill by the end of a drawn-out campaign. One Championship club paid out in the region of £120,000 for a period spanning eight weeks from training resuming to the end of the season. Each individual club was forced to meet the costs.

Plans to allow some fans back into football matches have now been put on hold indefinitely

That makes self-funded testing a non-starter, right?

Correct, and there is no way the EFL could afford to help, either. “If we had to test every week we will have to close down,” said Philip Day, chairman of League Two Grimsby Town. “It’s as simple as that.

“We have so far spent £20,000 on testing just to start the season. That was three sets of tests: return to training, halfway through training and just before the first game.

“We’ve done our budgets and we’re looking at a loss of over £700,000 for the season. If you put £7,000 a week on top of that, you can see it wouldn’t be long before we ran out of money. And we wouldn’t be alone.”

Joey Barton, manager of League One club Fleetwood, said: “We’ve worked really hard as a club. The last thing we want is to be shut down. We get tested every three weeks. From our perspective, we wouldn’t want to get tested if we don’t have to. It’d cost us a lot of money.”

Championship clubs are no different. Nottingham Forest, for example, do not test regularly unless an individual shows symptoms. The same approach has been adopted by Norwich City and Watford, two clubs relegated from the top flight.

How are the Premier League clubs different?

Although top-flight clubs no longer test as regularly as last season, it is still mandatory for all players and staff to undergo weekly COVID-19 tests. The hope is to retain an element of biosecurity at training complexes and stadiums, but there have been concerns when Premier League clubs have met lower league opponents. Tottenham’s date with Orient, for example, prompted the testing measures that revealed the extent of a breakout at Brisbane Road, while Chelsea also paid for their Carabao Cup opponents Barnsley to have COVID-19 tests and West Ham offered the same to Hull.

However, not all Premier League teams have asked lower league opponents to be tested. Everton, Newcastle, Fulham and Burnley did not see it as a necessary step for their matches against Fleetwood, Morecambe, Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall this week.

The Premier League is still committed to biosecurity at training complexes and stadiums

The EFL Trophy is also a worry. Premier League clubs do not tend to involve first-team players in the under-21 teams that participate but it does open up the risk of infection being carried back to the training grounds of top-flight teams.

Testing for clubs involved in the Champions League and Europa League, meanwhile, is led by UEFA. The EFL does ask any players returning from international breaks to be tested, including those in League One and Two.

Could the Leyton Orient case mean the integrity of this season is at stake?

The EFL say they are “reviewing the testing requirements all the time” and that the protocols outlined to clubs will limit the threat of COVID-19 spreading. There will be no knee-jerk reaction, in the hope the Orient episode will be an outlier.

But as the national average of positive COVID-19 cases continues to creep higher, especially in those aged between 20 and 30, the chances of avoiding a similar spike at another EFL club would appear slim.

And that is where the problems surface. In an already packed calendar, with the season shortened by a month, a raft of postponements would cause a backlog of fixtures.

The EFL, in theory, would have to decide what the tipping point would become for a postponement. The high number of positive cases recorded by Orient means Saturday’s game away to Walsall is expected to be called off due to infected players and staff having to self-isolate for 10 days.

The integrity of the competition then potentially becomes a train coming down the tracks. If the EFL insist on clubs impacted by a high number of COVID-19 cases completing fixtures, forcing them to play understrength and inexperienced teams, that would then hand obvious advantages to opponents.

Should the Premier League step in and help?

There is an expectation from the lower leagues that any rescue package from the top flight could include provisions for greater testing this winter but also an acceptance that finances are tight across the game, with the national game “losing more than £100 million per month” according to a Premier League statement on Monday.

“Any support from the upper echelons of the football pyramid — whether it’s paying for COVID testing or helping clubs ride the storm that we’re all in — would be very welcome,” said Macklin. “And the Premier League can play their part.

“It would be tragic if more clubs were to go to the wall during this COVID crisis. It’s bad enough at the best of times but it would be very sad if it happened to other clubs, and there is a danger that the longer it goes on without crowds we will sadly see clubs that their fans love go under.

“Football is built on the whole pyramid, that’s what makes it the envy of countries around the world. Within the upper reaches of the game, there is enough money within the whole of the sport to sustain the pyramid as it exists today.

“There are 72 clubs in the EFL and let’s say £7,000 per club, that’s close to half a million each week for testing,” added Day. “Whether the Premier League would step in, I don’t know. They should. They should give us financial support but I doubt whether they will.

“I suppose the other alternative is for football to close down again in League One and Two. That must be a possibility if we went along the testing line. Without support, we couldn’t do it.”

Discussions have been held between football’s stakeholders and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport with a view to securing financial support packages but there is little detail emerging from those meetings beyond a commitment to “work together”.

One senior figure at an EFL club believes the only way to save the season is for the Premier League or government to fund regular testing and fears the situation would get “much much worse” as winter approaches.

Another EFL club owner, though, says the only way forward is to continue playing. A failure to fulfill the season, it is argued, hastens doomsday.

COVID-19 testing in football, for now, will have to remain a commodity of the privileged.

 

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2 hours ago, Gotters said:


in which case they shouldn't be playing

 

In which case, you'll end up with a very small amount of teams in the professional leagues. 

iFollow income and season tickets won't keep these clubs afloat.

The FA, EFL, Premier League should all band together in unity to protect this. Imagine 100+ Burys. Tragic.

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13 minutes ago, neoELITE said:

 

In which case, you'll end up with a very small amount of teams in the professional leagues. 

iFollow income and season tickets won't keep these clubs afloat.

The FA, EFL, Premier League should all band together in unity to protect this. Imagine 100+ Burys. Tragic.

 

football won't be the only industry coming out the other side of this looking a lot different to how it went in, I don't want to just hand-wave away clubs with long histories no longer existing but many were not exactly well run profitable institutions before all this, I'm not sure pumping in money to keep them on life support is in the long term good for the lower tiers, who have never really dealt with the level of losses sustained by their clubs.

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6 minutes ago, Pants McSkill said:

Er mate, 5 of those suggestions are literally pumping money into clubs to keep them on life support, and the 6th is let them disappear.

 

 

 

I know 'mate', with counter arguments why it won't/shouldn't happen, which appears a far more likely outcome.

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Dale Stephens to Burnley looks like a done deal. He's been a great servant to Brighton over the last 7 seasons but has been superseded by younger players and a different system. I hope he gets more game time under Dyche.

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