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Kilmarnock captain Gary Dicker.
Kilmarnock captain Gary Dicker.
Image: PA

'It's probably easier to see how serious it is if you're close to someone who's directly involved'

Gary Dicker is wary over football’s return.
May 15th 2020, 12:00 PM 13,137 5

IRISH MIDFIELDER GARY Dicker believes football’s imminent return could backfire as the game looks to emerge from the hiatus which has been enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bundesliga fixtures will take place in Germany on Saturday, while English Premier League clubs are expected to begin collective training next week.

Dicker, who captains Scottish Premiership club Kilmarnock, is particularly wary over the resumption of sport as several of his family members are in frontline professions.

The Dubliner’s wife works in a funeral home, while two of his sisters are employed at Tallaght University Hospital. 

“One of my sisters was tested for the virus a few weeks ago because she had a cough. She’s got two kids and a husband so she was really worried that she might have it,” Dicker explained.

“She hasn’t been seeing anyone, even though all my family in Ireland live within a couple of minutes of each other. Thankfully her test was all clear.

“My wife tells me that they’re only letting two people into funerals, even the ones that aren’t related to the virus. It must be awful for those families, especially the older people. My granda back in Dublin is 90 and he hasn’t left the house in eight or nine weeks.

“When you see it and you know people that are closely involved with it, you realise that you don’t need to be putting everyone else at risk. It’s probably easier to see how serious it is if you’re close to someone who’s directly involved in it.

“People might say that Premier League players should be back playing because of how much money they get, but money means nothing if you’re not healthy or you’re putting other people’s health at risk.”

Leagues across Europe are working towards a restart, with clubs in Italy’s Serie A targeting 13 June for a return to behind-closed-doors action.

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werder-bremen-training-bundelsiga-germany Players from Bundesliga side Werder Bremen on their way to training yesterday. Source: Imago/PA Images

In Turkey, plans for the Super Lig to resume on 12 June have been hampered by yesterday’s developments at Besiktas, where eight positive cases have been confirmed. 

“Everyone is desperate for life to get back to normal and I’m no different, but I think there should be a bit of breathing space to aim for a more realistic target for games to come back. I know there are concerns about disruption to the following season but that’s going to happen anyway at this stage,” said Dicker.

“I understand the economic importance of it all, and I love football as much as anyone else, but if the Premier League goes back and eight or nine people test positive at a club, then you can’t fulfil fixtures anyway.

“You’ll have to stop for a while with people going into quarantine. What happens if the same thing happens at two or three other clubs? The fixtures are messed up then and it’ll drag on for even longer.

“I think they could drop themselves into a bigger hole if they restart the season and it has to stop again. That’ll probably have a knock-on effect for European and international games as well.

“You have to remember too that even if the games are behind closed doors, it won’t just involve two teams of 11 lads out on the pitch. At Premier League clubs you’ll have squads of 25/30 players, 10/15 staff, officials, medical personnel, all that sort of stuff. There’s a lot of things that need to be taken into account before you can go straight back into it.

“Football returning might give people a lift, but having said that, football behind closed doors just isn’t the same. People just have to be a bit sensible here. I don’t see why they can’t wait for another four weeks so there’ll be a bit more of a chance of it working out okay.”

rangers-v-kilmarnock-scottish-premiership-ibrox Kilmarnock's Gary Dicker tangling with Joseph Aribo of Rangers during a Scottish Premiership game this season. Source: PA

The Scottish Premiership season ground to a halt in March, with reports suggesting that Celtic will be declared champions in the coming days for the ninth consecutive year.

Dicker, whose Kilmarnock side are in eighth place, reckons that ending the campaign on a points-per-game basis is the best option.

The 33-year-old said: “In Scotland, the most sensible thing right now is to finish the season as it is. We’re 30 games in, with only eight left, and it’s tough on those who have a bit to lose, but it’s the only solution after playing that amount of games.

“It seems like that’s what’s going to happen and I think that’s what makes sense.”

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Paul Dollery


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