Brighton chief executive admits summer football will provide different challenge


Summer football will present a new challenge to some Premier League players and will require additional measures in order to succeed, according to Brighton chief executive Paul Barber.

Top-flight clubs have resumed non-contact training with a view to resuming matches next month and playing out the remainder of the campaign through the warmest period of the year.

And while international stars will have plenty of experience of the heat, Barber believes some players could suffer, and safeguards must be adopted to ensure the new schedule is fair for all.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Molineux
Premier League stars are in for a heated period of action (NIck Potts/PA)

Barber said: “I think we’ll certainly be looking at all the physiological challenges and demands that players are going to be under playing in warmer months.

“I would imagine that drinks breaks will be a regular feature of matches, and certainly in terms of the way players train, and the period for which they train, will change. I’m sure that will be factored in.

“But the great thing these days is the amount of expertise that’s around us – strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, medical staff. They are all very highly trained, so I would expect them to be taking all these things into consideration.

Liverpool v Atletico Madrid – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – Second Leg – Anfield
Top stars like Roberto Firmino are facing a busy summer (Peter Byrne/PA)

“A lot of the players in the Premier League are full internationals and they play tournaments in summer. But clearly other players won’t be used to that. That’s when we’ll need to use the experts around them.”

Meanwhile, Barber has refused to commit to the suggestion that the Premier League could be expanded in the event of its inability to finish the campaign, by scrapping relegation and promoting the top clubs from the Championship.

Clubs like Leeds and West Brom will expect the right to promotion while those at the bottom of the Premier League table are unlikely to accept being replaced in the top-flight if the Championship season is not concluded.

Leeds United v Bristol City – Sky Bet Championship – Elland Road
Leeds would benefit from a potential Premier League expansion (Tim Goode/PA)

Barber added: “That’s definitely one for the Premier League and EFL. I think we’re all very conscious of the need to finish the season for the best possible sporting outcome, both in the Premier League and Championship.

“But we’re also aware of the challenges that we all face. It’s hard for me to talk about an expanded Premier League.

“Clearly extra games is great, but not if the season is already condensed. And of course you’ve got all the challenges of European fixtures and two cup competitions.

“But equally we all want the best possible sporting outcome. At the moment we’re very much focused on getting players back to training and then to the next stage.”