Tue, 07 Jul 2020

Peru boss Gareca urges swift return for football

27 May 2020, 09:59 GMT+10

LIMA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Peru head coach Ricardo Gareca has called on local authorities to accelerate football's return in the Andean country, saying players are unable to remain fit while training at home.

Peruvian president Martin Vizcarra last week authorized football's restart, pending the publication of biosafety protocols by the health ministry.

"Football must be reactivated because players need to be able to resume training," Gareca told radio station RPP on Tuesday.

"As soon as the protocols are determined we have to start as soon as possible. The physical conditions of the players are deteriorating by the day. We hope that training will be able to resume in the first week of June, so that the league can restart in the first week of July."

Peruvian football has been suspended since March 12, a day after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Peru has been one of the worst-hit South American nations, with 124,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,600 deaths.

Gareca said he was preparing for "all possibilities", including the prospect that Europe and US-based players might be excluded from South America's opening qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.

"If it is necessary to play in the qualifiers with local players only, we will do that," the 62-year-old Argentinian said. "You need to be prepared."

The first two rounds of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) World Cup qualifiers, originally scheduled for March, have been postponed to September.

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