Gary Lineker on the return of football: “You can’t play football and social distance”

Lineker: 'You can't social distance playing soccer'

Lineker may have to update the quote again, in light of the fact that the German Bundesliga has become the first of the main football leagues in Europe to resume the game this weekend: football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and in the end the Germans always return first.

In fact, the now 59-year-old Lineker told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour the day before the Bundesliga started again that she is “nervously excited”, pointing out that Germany is “setting the tone for everyone else. I think every league in L ‘ Europe that wants to try to end the season that has obviously been interrupted, is looking at Germany to see how it goes.

“The Germans have been quite intelligent during this thing. Their tests are brilliant and they are really ahead of everyone else in Europe. So it will be interesting to see how they will move, but what if three or four players test positive and all the others Team members have to isolate? Then you have a problem. “

According to the latest data, the country has 175,233 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 7,897 deaths, but the German Football Association (DFB) has worked closely with the league organizers (DFL) and is confident that the strict safety protocols in act will protect the people involved.

As a striker, Lineker has scored hundreds of goals for his clubs and his country, but has taken the celebration for fans for granted. One of the conditions for the Bundesliga kickoff is that matches will be behind closed doors, which lends itself to the question of whether football is truly football without fans in the stands.

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“Well, it’s not quite the same,” begins the man whose 48 goals for England place him only behind Wayne Rooney and Bobby Charlton in the all-time scoring chart in England, not to mention winning the Golden Boot as top scorer in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

“I guess they’ll get used to after a few games. But even watching football on television … is very different if you don’t have a crowd … It will be a bit more like training in many ways, but more important than training.”

In view of the resumption of the season, which comes after a two-month break in Germany, the perennial Bayern Bayern Munich holds a four-point advantage with nine games to play, with the Bavarians hoping to win the title for the eighth consecutive time. . But the likes of Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach are six points behind the champions, with Dortmund able to narrow the gap to a lonely point with Saturday’s home victory against Schalke.

Lineker hopes that viewers will find the new normal in Germany “acceptable” because “in all honesty it would be nice to end the season”. But the forward turned into broadcaster acknowledges that “there seems to be a bit of a hurry to do it because they (the championships) want to start the next season on time.

“But I don’t see that hurry because the probability is … it will continue for some time, so the chances of the next season being interrupted are quite high, I suppose.”

As Lineker well knows, Germany was often ahead of England when it came to success on the pitch and the Bundesliga beat the English Premier League for a quick return to action during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dynamo Dresden game was canceled after positive coronavirus tests as the Bundesliga recovery approaches

There is still no certainty that the EPL will resume, despite reports suggesting that the so-called “restart of the project” could begin next month to complete the 92 games left to be played in the world’s most popular league. The 20 teams will meet again on Monday and each team probably has an agenda, whether it’s Liverpool, which is a short distance from the first title in the Premier League, with a surely insurmountable 25 point advantage, or one of the teams who fight against relegation.

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“My suggestion is to take some time with this,” Lineker said. “Yes, finish it because I think it’s the right thing to do, and then we’ll judge from there on. But obviously with the coronavirus, with Covid-19, it’s very fluid. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, we leave only in four weeks, so let’s be patient. Let’s see, but we’re all keeping our fingers crossed – and I think it’s OK to suggest you missed the kick. “

Lineker also claims that when it comes to game play, like tackling, or teammates standing next to each other when defending a free kick, “you can’t play soccer and social distance”.

And while he understands “why the government (UK) wants him back, I understand why football wants him back, I understand why the fans want him back, I want him back. But it must be in the right circumstances, at the right time, when it is safe to do so. , and that’s the most important thing. “

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