Coronavirus: Isolation camps and what a behind closed doors Premier League could actually look like
Games played without fans is under consideration, but that still doesn’t solve the dilemma of ensuring squads stay infection-free
The Premier League have been discussing a variety of options to safely resume the season amid the Covid-19 pandemic and football isolation camps could be the solution in ensuring the health and welfare of players and staff.
The authorities, who have emphasised a unity in the commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 campaign, have been urged to think outside the box by club doctors and conditioning personnel to find a resolution.
Fixtures being fulfilled behind closed doors has widely been considered as a possibility to honour the integrity of the competition as well as to satisfy broadcast, sponsorship and other contractual obligations.
There has not yet been an answer on how such a course of action would stop supporters congregating outside stadiums as seen around Europe before the suspension of domestic and continental action.
It also does not solve a core issue: how to stop a player or staff member getting coronavirus, which would force a squad into a 14-day period of isolation.
As experts flagged to The Independent, teams also need an extended period of training to build the requisite match sharpness.
One of the ideas that has been mooted is for clubs to go into quarantine camps for two months, mirroring cricket tours somewhat but with strict sanitisation and prevention measures.
Each team would be assigned a hotel, which would be exclusively for the players and most necessary staff. To access the base, you’d have to be cleared of having the virus and will effectively be in lockdown, but with the chance to train together.
If this is implemented at the start of May, there is a chance for a solid three weeks of training and internal friendlies before then fitting in the remaining league games.
Teams would fulfil their fixtures and return to base.
While there is an appreciation that it is difficult to ask squads, staff and everyone else involved to be away from their families for such a long spell, there is a realisation that without a group quarantine, if one person contracts coronavirus, it will spread and leave a high percentage of the squad unavailable.
Officials have admitted there are no simple solutions in a complex, unprecedented situation as they continue to talk through ways of trying to deal with a problem completely out of football’s control.