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'Some clubs won't be back' - Shay Given on Covid-19 lockdown and the financial impact on football

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Former Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given is currently a goalkeeping coach at Derby County. Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Getty Images

Former Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given is currently a goalkeeping coach at Derby County. Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Getty Images

Former Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given is currently a goalkeeping coach at Derby County. Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Getty Images

Shay Given fears that some lower league clubs in England will not survive the financial impact from the Covid-19 crisis as the Premier League continues to try and find a way to resume action on the field.

Given, currently goalkeeping coach at Derby County, admits that the lack of activity due to the pandemic has been a frustration and he knows that with the focus on the resumption of the top flight, the lower leagues, such as the Championship, may have to wait.

"It's frustrating, it's been a long few weeks, in the Championship we are governed by what the Premier League do as if they can restart, they will be looking at the Championship games as well to follow what the Premier League do," Given told RTE's Sunday Sport.

"We're looking for a way forward, to get football back on, it would give us a boost and a focus away from Covid-19.

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"There are talks behind the scenes that we don't know about, the EFL will be governed by the Premier League and it's frustrating as you are waiting for the phone to ring or see what the next step is, you wonder 'are we back training next week?'.

"And then you have to wait for another week. Hopefully they will ease up the lockdown a bit and give us a chance to get back, it will take the players three or four weeks to get the players up to fitness again so it can't happen overnight, they need to get back training, it will take time."

But he knows that the financial worries from the pandemic will have a major impact on the game.

"We have a good medical team behind us and the players will be well prepped on what's the best thing to do, we see the German clubs back training but doing individual training, keeping a distance, temperature checks when you get into the building and I am sure we will do the same," Given said.

"But will the clubs in League One and League Two have the finances to do that sort of thing? I'm not sure they will, and even in the Championship a lot of the money comes from gate receipts, if you stop (having crowds) it will be very difficult for these leagues to continue.

"Neutral venues will have a big cost, with no crowds, you still need a lot of people behind the scenes, I'd rather play as normal, home and away, and do the best as you can for the safety of the people playing.

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"We just want to get football back on again, get the clubs back up and running, at Derby it's a big drain on the club and there's a big strain on the owner, Mel Morris, as there are no gate receipts, it's around this time of the year you'd be selling season tickets for next season and that's not there, it's a tough time for all the clubs and some of them will be bankrupted by this, some clubs won't be back.

"We just hope we can get back playing soon," added Given, who uses technology to keep up with his charges

"I have been in a group whatsapp group with the staff and in touch with the goalkeepers individually, trying to keep the, fit and focused and doing some goalkeeper-related training instead of just running or weights."

*Given is backing the CareGiven charity which is raising funds to provide PPE for frontline staff on the NHS in the UK.


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