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‘It won’t get easier’: Russian Premier League assesses impact of Covid-19 & urges clubs not to relax ahead of new season

‘It won’t get easier’: Russian Premier League assesses impact of Covid-19 & urges clubs not to relax ahead of new season
The Russian premier League (RPL) anti-coronavirus task force has assessed the impact of the Covid-19 and is stressing that tight control and preventive measures should be strictly observed ahead of the new season.

RPL was among the first European football leagues to resume its regular championship after a lengthy hiatus caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, with players’ health being regularly monitored by medical staff.

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A total of 57 cases were detected among RPL players, with the majority of them having just slight symptoms which didn’t require treatment in hospital. Out of 57 cases, 11 were reported before the championship restarted, while 46 were confirmed during a two-month period of playing.

On the whole the situation [surrounding Covid-19] will not get easier,” said the chairman of the Russian Football Union’s medical committee, Eduard Bezuglov.

All European football leagues, including the RPL, realize that they should not let their guard down. However, the huge work that has been done will help us to avoid mistakes which we previously made. The RPL was among the first leagues
to renew its championship (on June 21). This was not easy to do amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s quite clear that our work was effective,” he added.

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Bezuglov said that the lengthy pause in the tournament didn’t affect players’ physical shape and didn’t lead to a great number of injuries as had been expected.

According to statistics, less than five injuries were registered in each of the 16 teams in the league, which didn’t differ much from numbers recorded last year.

The global coronavirus crisis, which has affected all major sporting events, forced football bosses to impose restrictions to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

In Russia, spectators were allowed to attend matches, as long as their they didn’t exceed 10 percent of the stadium's capacity.

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In August, the Russian Football Union will allow 50 percent of seats at stadiums to be filled, on the condition that fans observe anti-coronaviris measures, including social distancing and wearing masks.

Our experiences of having fans at football games has proved that this doesn’t lead to outbreaks of Covid-19 cases. That’s why we think it’s possible to increase the number of spectators at stadiums, of course on condition that they will be responsible and take all necessary precautionary measures,” Bezuglov added.

RPL’s new season will start on August 8, just two weeks after the end of the 2019-20 championship.