Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Sunday waffle: Dresden and Betis players test positive

Sunday.

Thanks to everyone for the responses to yesterday’s post about The Last Dance and basketball. I was inundated – in a good way – with responses about the documentary itself, other great documentaries, and which basketball team to follow as and when I start watching it. The news has been so relentlessly bad in recent times, it was nice to have a thread of almost entirely positive replies (which you can see here).

Not a great deal going on today, so I thought I’d just point you in the direction of a few things of interest before making a bacon sandwich and walking dogs. As everyone looks towards the Bundesliga as the shining beacon of football hope, news has emerged that the entire Dynamo Dresden squad, including coaches and other staff, have been placed into fourteen days of quarantine after two players tested positive for Covid-19.

They were due to play Hannover next weekend in Bundesliga 2, and this will obviously delay that. As of now it seems that is the only fixture to be affected, and it doesn’t mean the rest of the games won’t play, but it’s hard not to think that this is a scenario that will be repeated. Not just in Germany, but in England and elsewhere, as and when the green light is giving for football to return.

Meanwhile in Spain, three players from Real Betis have tested positive, two of them asymptomatic, meaning their return to training is delayed by two weeks because of the need for quarantine. As yet there’s no official date for a restart in Spain, but again it highlights how shaky this all is at the moment, and how easily it could all fall apart.

I think there’s an idea that when football starts again, we don’t have anything left to worry about it. The games will be played – even if they are behind closed doors – and things will just chug along interrupted. The reality is probably going to be a lot more complicated – even a few positive tests could see games delayed and clubs locked down, extending the season even further.

The Premier League will publish a schedule at some point, but if one club is affected by the virus and can’t play for a couple of weeks, that’s going to throw that all out of whack. If it happens to a number of clubs … well, your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps there will be some cushion built into the new plan, whatever it might be, but with pressure to complete the season before a certain date to try and provide some clarity about next season, it’s hard to imagine there’s much wiggle room.

Finally for today, a couple of pieces for you to read.

1 – Rory Smith in the New York Times about how football appears to be missing the chance to do things better as it looks to cope with Covid-19. Rory was on the Arsecast a couple of weeks back and we spoke about the potential to address some of the major issues the game has and to make improvements. Unfortunately, and not at all surprisingly, money is driving decisions, not what might be best for the sport and the people who love it.

2 – A good piece from Barney Ronay in the Guardian about the Premier League and the focus on its return:

Enter a world of terrible ideas. Enter biosecure football. Not biosecure nuclear plants or biosecure food production. No. Biosecure football, words that signify of their own accord that something truly idiotic is happening here.

Right, have yourselves a good Sunday. More from me tomorrow, including a brand new Arsecast Extra. Until then.

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