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"It worries me" - Deschamps fears EPL, other leagues are prioritising money over safety

Deschamps has today had his say, with other top leagues resuming next month. (Picture: Sportskeeda)
Deschamps has today had his say, with other top leagues resuming next month. (Picture: Sportskeeda)
Mo Omi
Modified 27 May 2020

The English Premier League ( EPL ) is among Europe's top divisions expected to resume next month, but France coach Didier Deschamps insists they are only doing so due to financial reasons.

Deschamps has backed the decision to end this season's Ligue 1 campaign amid the COVID-19 pandemic, insisting other leagues - including the EPL - are resuming purely due to financial reasons.

Some clubs have threatened to take legal action, while Lyon and their president Jean-Michel Aulas have been vocal in their displeasure, urging the decision to be overturned after the Bundesliga's resumption.

READ: Coronavirus - Aulas predicts financial difficulties for 'many French clubs'

Serie A and the EPL are expected to recommence next month, as well as La Liga, meaning Ligue 1 will be the only one of Europe's top five leagues not being concluded on the pitch.

Today, the EPL's 20 clubs unanimously agreed to return to contact training for the first time since March's suspension.

Nonetheless, Deschamps feels French authorities made the right decision, highlighting inconsistencies with certain protocols in Germany having watched the Bundesliga's return.

He told Le Parisien:

"I don't want to judge, condemn, to blame. The containment conditions are not the same for everyone. I see players playing a game with all the elements specific to football: namely contact and tackles. And then, we see in the stands masked substitutes two metres away from each other.
Honestly, I don't understand. They are in the same enclosure, likely to come into play at any time. In the stands, is the risk increased? What an inconsistency - I do not like it."

Deschamps also suggested that monetary concerns are behind LaLiga and the EPL's proposed June resumption, while giving a relevant example to support his point.

"Life resumes with a lot of restrictions in all areas. In football, the resumption of certain championships obviously responds, first of all, to an economic problem. Look at the decisions made in Spain and England.
These two major football countries are planning [to resume], but have decided not to resume the women's championships, which generate much less revenue. That says everything."

Deschamps raises injury risk issue, has many EPL stars in his France squad

Deschamps is also concerned players in the leagues that resume are not well prepared enough, prompting an increased risk of injury.

"It worries me. Whether you are a coach or club president, we all have interests specific to our function. The physical integrity of my players is my main concern. Some abroad will resume competition without having carried out full preparation.
No matter how much you say, such a stop requires six weeks of refresher training with at least five friendly matches. That's far from being the case. They will chain matches every three days in summer, with high temperatures. The risk of injury is increased."

In the most recent France squad, there were seven EPL-based players - with Manchester United duo Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial among the notable absentees.

The pair, alongside Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte and more besides, have sustained persistent injury issues recently.

A premature return without effective preparation could further hinder their development, while fellow EPL star N'Golo Kante remains absent from training over COVID-19 concerns.

Published 27 May 2020, 20:23 IST
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