The wait to find out the fate of Leeds United’s promotion push is becoming an increasingly nervous one.
The Whites are currently stuck in a state of limbo, with nine Championship games separating them from a long-awaited return to the Premier League, and no clear indication on if or when they will be able to play them.
In one respect, some optimism will be gained from the fact that League Two clubs voted to end their season on Friday using a points per game average to decide final standings – a system that would see Leeds finish in an automatic promotion spot even if their remaining matches are called off.
But equally, it is understood that a number of Premier League sides will look to block promotion from the second tier if it is abandoned before completion.
As such, the safest way that Leeds United can ensure their top flight status next season is to play those nine remaining games.
The government has set a date of June 1st for action to resume, but a number of players, including Watford captain Troy Deeney and Norwich City defender Grant Hanley, have spoken out over their concerns about restarting things so soon.
And now Robbie Savage has weighed in on the argument with a brilliantly measured response.
While conceding that clubs cannot force talents to play against their will, and admitting that the final decision must rest with the players, he has also pointed out why it is important for football to get back up and running again sooner rather than later.
Writing in a column for the Mirror, he said: “Can they [clubs and governing bodies] offer 100% safety? No – but there isn’t a profession in the world that can offer guaranteed safety.
“Is the return of football worth a single life? Of course not. Coronavirus is still claiming hundreds of casualties every day and sport cannot camouflage so much heartbreak around us.
“But the football industry makes a significant contribution to the economy. You can’t wait until a vaccine for Covid-19 is found – because scientists may never find one.
“And if ‘safety’ means a new level of normality, we need to accept the new ‘normal’ will be different.”
The pundit is bang on with his assessment here.
Footballers are relatively fortunate in the sense that they will be afforded regular testing and do their “work” in space that is predominantly outdoors.
Not everybody in society is so lucky.
Factor in the extraordinary lengths clubs and governing bodies will go to to ensure that things are as sterile and safe as possible, and you could argue that they are facing a much less risky environment than the overwhelming majority of people.
Of course, players are only human, and they are bound to have fears and concerns, but as Savage points out, this limbo cannot go on forever.
We have to return to action at some point, and provided the relevant authorities are convinced that it is safe to do so, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be June 1st.
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