LONDON: League Managers Association Chief Executive Richard Bevan said that the English season can only be restarted if all footballers are tested for coronavirus.
“Tests must be made available first to National Health Service (NHS) workers and patients,” Bevan said.
“Once that’s happened, by all means let’s access it in sport.”
Football has already been shelved for a month due to the virus which has killed nearly 9,000 people in Britain.
Football League chiefs believe they can finish the season in 56 days once it is safe to resume.
“We’re not really going to see more accurate forecasting about when we can get on the pitch until the end of April,” added Bevan.
“In Germany, if you look at discussions about coming back in May, that’s probably a direct result of some very clear thinking from their government because they’re doing 50,000 tests a day.
“In this country we’re doing 10,000 per day, although the government are targeting 100,000 each day by the end of the month.
“Our managers do not want to be back on the pitch unless the players have been tested.”
Clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two were sent a letter by the Football League this week revealing that the governing body hope to complete the season this summer despite the ongoing pandemic.
But Bevan insists bosses should have been consulted.
“You’re going to have to get the support of the coaches and managers. You do not do that by not talking to them,” Bevan.
“You’re going to have to get the goodwill of the players because you’re going to have at least three weeks of training to get back on the pitch at least.
“The most important thing guiding every principle is health, and getting back on the pitch without ensuring fully fit players is a very big call to make.”
Bevan’s remarks came as players at English Premier League side West Ham agreed to defer part of their wages during the coronavirus suspension while manager David Moyes will take a 30 percent pay cut.
The move comes just a day after top-flight rivals Southampton struck a similar deal with their players as clubs wrestle with the financial fallout of the virus which has shut down the sport for a month.
“The savings created by the measures will support the entire infrastructure of the club and enable us to retain jobs and continue to pay 100 percent of staff salaries,” said a West Ham statement.
Joint-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold as well as fellow shareholders also agreed to inject £30million into the club.
Vice-chairman Karren Brady and finance director Andy Mollett are taking a 30 percent cut, just like Moyes.
West Ham skipper Mark Noble, who is playing a key role in the recently launched #PlayersTogether initiative aimed at generating funds for Britain’s National Health Service, said he was glad an agreement on wages had
“As players we have been in constant dialogue with the club since the situation around COVID-19 emerged and I am proud that our entire squad have made clear their strong desire to play our part in helping to support others through this situation,” he said.
“At West Ham United, we are one team and our priority reflects the club’s aim to help ensure the staff get 100 percent of their salaries while we are unable to play our matches.
“We continue to do all we can, collectively and individually, throughout this period for the benefit of those around us, our colleagues, our supporters and our community.”
Brady added: “I would like to say a big thank you to David Moyes and his backroom team, our captain Mark Noble and our fantastic squad of players for the commitment and determination they have shown to offer their help and support.”