Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has argued the return of Premier League football could boost the mental health of the nation and help define the ‘new normal’ for other industries.
The multi-millionare businessman defended attempts to get the season back up and running amid the pandemic, stressing not doing so would be a major financial blow to taxpayers and the wider football community.
He explained in his column in The Sunday Times how he feared legal challenges if matches were voided and how he wanted current leaders Liverpool to be crowned champions.
Eagles owner Parish is the latest figure in football to have their say on Project Restart as bosses plan the return of top-flight football amid the coronavirus pandemic with the Premier League still understood to be working towards a best-case scenario of play being able to resume from the week beginning June 8.
“Isn’t it all just about the money? Well, not entirely,” Parish wrote for the article which has been published in full on Crystal Palace’s official website.
“I want to complete the competition for reasons of sporting integrity. I want to crown Liverpool champions and give every other club a fair crack at the best league position they can achieve
“I certainly don’t want to have difficult conversations about curtailing, voiding and points per game. The ramifications of each are complex and could involve legal challenges that run on for months, if not years.
He said he would respect if the nation decided that it was inappropriate for football to return, but he argued that it would help no-one if football or any industry ‘come out the other side in a worse state than we otherwise could have’.
Parish said: ‘Football cannot occupy any paramedic or ambulance that the NHS needs. We must do our best not to create a public-order issue with supporters attempting to get close to grounds. Perhaps most importantly, we cannot take testing capacity from one person in greater need.’
But he added: ‘I believe that just as Formula One is often the precursor to developments that become standard in general road vehicles, so Premier League football with its physical science, medical infrastructures and resources for looking after its people, can begin to define how the ‘new normal’ might look for a lot of working environments.
‘Not only that, in our country and beyond, people need to find ways to move forward mentally, to experience some small relief from the worries of this crisis.
Parish claimed that player welfare and safety proposals would ‘render Premier League football one of the safest places in society to co-exist, much safer than a journey to the supermarket at present’.
And he added that nobody would benefit if Premier League clubs faced major financial shortfalls by not completing the season.