Brighton boss Graham Potter says football must 'adapt to imperfect situation'

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Graham Potter took over from Chris Hughton in May
Graham Potter took over from Chris Hughton in May

Brighton manager Graham Potter says football will have to work in an imperfect world when the game is finally cleared to restart.

Professional football in England has been postponed until at least 30 April, and it is accepted a period of intense training will be required before games can be played, given players are now either doing individual training programmes or group sessions without a ball through a video link.

The longer the game is stopped for, the more training will be required, with the prospect existing of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons running into each other.

"What football needs to understand is that it is not going to be as perfect as we would all like," said Potter.

"Sports scientists would give you a certain amount of time they need for adaptation and training sessions to build up the load but whenever we do start playing football it will be because the nation thinks it is the right thing for us to do.

"As an industry we have to understand that and adapt to the imperfect situation. That is going to be the challenge and that is what we will have to do."

Another meeting of Premier League clubs is due to be held on 3 April when it is anticipated a further delay to the present 30 April deadline for matches to start again will be pushed back.

There remains a desire to complete the season at some stage, although the longer the shutdown goes on for, the louder the voices will become for arguing the season should close, as has happened with the non-league pyramid below the National League.

"We have all been very clear - clubs, managers, players and fans - that we want to see the season finished if it is practically possible and safe to do so," said Brighton chief executive Paul Barber. "The big problem is we just don't know when that is.

"The Premier League has put different stakes in the ground to buy ourselves some time, which seems to be a sensible thing to do.

"We have been very grateful for the patience of all our different commercial partners and sponsors, both at a league and a club level, and also the patience of fans because they understand how serious the situation is.

"Nobody is clamouring for us to play football right now. Everyone is mindful of the other priorities that exist in the country at the moment."

Barber also revealed one aspect of football life is continuing.

Groundsmen are still carrying out their duties both at the Amex Stadium and Brighton's training ground.

"We consider that to be essential work," he said.

"We have a very small team working, funnily enough, as they normally would when they are tending the pitch, when they are quite isolated across the surface.

"They are doing that in a very minimal way just to make sure the surfaces are maintained because they are a very expensive piece of real estate that we just can't allow to go to rack and ruin."

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