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EFL doctors split on football returning

EFL club doctors are split over restart plans and smaller clubs may struggle to abide by social distancing and testing requ­ire­ments, says a leading medic.

QPR's head of medical Dr Imtiaz Ahmad said there was "varying opinion" among his colleagues in the Football League regarding finishing this season.

"I don't think that will change because it is quite hard for all of us at the moment," Dr Ahmad told BBC Sport.

EFL chairman Rick Parry said on Tuesday the season needs to be over by 31 July.

Dr Ahmad said that the Premier League was "taking the lead" with putting together a medical protocol for a return to training, from which point the EFL could "adapt that for ourselves".

But he warned that could take several months to put that into practice, with some clubs lower down the pyramid without full-time medics.

Dr Ahmad said it was a "difficult time" for club doctors adding: "Sometimes you think actually is it best to wait a bit, just to let things settle down, and then start talking about football, but then you do know and hear about the general pressures with regards to the economics behind it."

A further EFL board meeting will be held on Wednesday.

There is also a second meeting of the cross-sport medical working group that involves medical officers from football, rugby, cricket and racing and medical experts from the government.

"The pathway is there, the difficulty is the timeline," he said.

"It may well be easier the higher up you are in the chain in terms of being a Premier League club. At some other EFL clubs the basics of social distancing will be a challenge.

"It's the time the players come in, how they can stay away from each other, where do they get changed, getting changed at home, how they actually leave the training ground."

"Even at your higher Championship clubs it will be very different to some League Two clubs for example. I think that is where the challenge will lie."

"There could be certain things that are prohibitive. That's probably more specifically with regards to testing.

"Everything else can be arranged or can be reviewed if time is on the side of the clubs, but if testing becomes an issue to be done however frequently and it can't be matched across all the clubs then yes there could be a difference.

"But again the EFL chairman and medical adviser have stressed that it has to be agreed by the clubs and so I don't think they will impose anything on us without us at least having a say in that matter."

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