This question is regularly asked within the FFF medical commission, according to RMC.
At the LFP, a medical guide is also being established to combat all the challenges associated with returning to Ligue 1 action without the existence of any health risks.
Obviously, all football players are aware of this: it is unimaginable that 1st training will simply return as normal on May 11th, which is currently the date at which the nationwide quarantine in France ends: “In our opinion, the only solution to have the maximum health guarantee is to test all the players,” admitted a member of the FFF medical committee.
The plan is as follows: test all players to find out both who has COVID-19, even without knowing it, and who has had it. The intention is then to keep those who test positive in quarantine. Beyond just the players, the club also want to make sure that the other people in contact with the players (staff, physiotherapists, etc.) are also healthy. The UNFP, the French players union have told RMC:
“After having made sacrifices on wages, we want a guarantee on health before considering any return.”
The difficulty that clubs and the football world face is that these plans would add an additional cost. The French public health system will test anyone with symptoms from May 11th, according to the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron. However, there are currently no government plans to test for asymptomatic patients, meaning that football clubs would have to pay the private health care sector to enact said plan.
“No one would understand if footballers were to be tested but not people in other industries,” said a government source. With regard to the health of top athletes, an opinion will be sought from the scientific council which has worked with the French government since the start of the health crisis.
“We need certainty about the health of the players,” insists one member of the FFF’s medical commission.
At the moment, we certainly have more questions than answers, after the LFP had their plan leaked to return to action in June: What about the logistics? How is a team from the north that is due to play in the south being transported? How many people can travel with the squads? The hotels and restaurants are due to remain closed, but the players must sleep and eat. How do we do it?
Answers we will have in the coming weeks. The financial survival of French football may well depend on it.