Not right players to be tested ahead of key workers, says Foster


(Reuters) – Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster says it would be wrong for Premier League players to be tested for the coronavirus ahead of medical workers as plans for Project Restart continue.

Twice weekly tests for Premier League players are part of the plan to resume the Premier League next month after it was suspended in March because of the pandemic.

“Footballers are not essential key workers, we shouldn’t have access to tests before front-line workers,” Foster told BBC Newsbeat on Friday.

The Professional Footballers Association (PFA), Premier League chiefs and the government held a conference call this week to discuss safety measures for a restart.

On Thursday, Britain’s Culture and Sport secretary Oliver Dowden said the government was “opening the door” for football to return next month in empty stadiums.

Another meeting is planned for Monday when players are due to return to initial group training under social distancing rules. With Britain’s death toll at almost 34,000 from the virus, several players have voiced their unease at such a quick return.

Foster says players are still unsure about how exactly ‘Project Restart” will work.

“I really haven’t a clue how they are going to work it. It is almost impossible to come up with solutions,” the former Manchester United and England keeper said.

“I don’t know if we have to wear masks when we go back to training, I haven’t a clue. It is not going to be normal anymore, a completely different set of circumstances.

“How do you socially distance from a corner? Can a goalkeeper spit on their gloves?”

June 12 is the proposed date for a Premier League resumption but many issues still need to be resolved.

“You can’t go risking people’s health to be playing football. Health is the most important thing. Going back to playing has to be done when the time is right,” Foster said.

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar