2020 was probably one of the worst years in most peoples memories with the Covid-19 virus causing havoc all the world.
And now 2021 has not started too well either, with the mutations of the virus being more contagious, and the new restrictions mean most people are under virtual house arrest.
But football keeps going, despite more and more players testing positive every week, and many EPL games are being played between weakened teams. Mikel Arteta was asked about playing during the new crisis and he highlighted the thorny matter of social-distancing on the pitch. “Well, first of all, to control the emotions when you’re going 200mph in the game is very difficult.” the boss told Arsenal.com.
“We’re asking our players in corners for example to be man-marking people, to be pushing people around and then we cannot say hello to anybody. It gets a little bit controversial and difficult to understand. Morally, with the situation we have in the country, with the situation we have worldwide, to keep doing what we are doing is a little bit of a strange feeling.
“We know as well what we can bring to society if we are able to do it in a safe way, then there are a lot of positives to take. It’s just that balance. When this starts to get damaging and worrying and it starts to exploit people, and when we can do it and it’s still safe and we can add something positive. It’s a difficult context.”
But he does think that because pandemic and the restrictions have become more draconian, he thinks that there could come a time when the season is paused again: “.. but that’s why all the protocols and guidance and everything that we are told to do to keep the industry going is really helpful.
“I think so far, until the last week or so, we did brilliantly and we were able to control that. If that’s the case and the government and the people are happy to do that again because they believe that it’s something positive and something to look at and keep people entertained then it’s great that we can help in that sense. If not, it’ll be them that are the ones making the decision that there’s no sense in keeping this going.”
It certainly is a moral dilemma, but as Dan was talking about in his post yesterday. It’s all about the money….