Coronavirus: If the rest resume work, why shouldn't footballers? – Nantes chief hopes for return

By Sports Desk April 18, 2020

Nantes president Waldemar Kita is hopeful the Ligue 1 season will resume "in a month or two" and sees no reason why "privileged" footballers should remain off work if the rest of the public return to their duties.

France implemented lockdown measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic on March 17, with professional football in the country paused four days earlier.

While voiding the season has been disregarded as an option, according to Bernard Caiazzo, who is president of the union representing Ligue 1 clubs, the fate of the campaign remains a constant topic of debate.

With the country seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, president Emmanuel Macron extended the lockdown earlier this month to May 11.

And if that date coincides with many of the public going back to work, Kita sees no reason for football not to follow suit.

"Even if it is in a month or two, I believe it is time for life to resume," he told Le Parisien. "I have always felt that intellectually, mentally and financially, people had to work, but I think of those who have no money and who will soon be forced to.

"Some will have to return to work by getting up at 5am, taking the metro to earn €1,200 while enjoying minimal security. Why does a footballer, who will be surrounded by all the necessary health precautions, not return not to work? Because he is privileged and he lives in his bubble?"

Kita also believes even the return of football behind closed doors will have an impact on the nation's morale.

"We are in perfect financial health," he added. "If I only thought about the economic side of it, I would say that because of the closed doors I will lose a lot of revenue, but the matches behind closed doors are essential at first to protect the players and our spectators.

"We have to find activity and life in our country and football has a part. Watching a match, even on TV, can contribute to this return to life and give a little morale to people after this period of pain."

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