Darren Bent calls for Premier League to follow NBA and form ‘secure bubble’ to halt sharp rise in COVID-19 cases January 12, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer

Darren Bent has called for the Premier League to follow the NBA’s lead by forming a ‘secure bubble’ for the next four weeks in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.

England last week re-entered a strict lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus cases, hospital admissions and deaths, with the public told to stay at home except to complete necessary journeys.

NBA players were kept in a secure bubble in Florida for more than three months to combat the spread of COVID-19

Elite sport was granted an exemption to continue, however, after being suspended when the first lockdown began last March.

Despite the stricter guidelines, footballers continue to breach guidelines, with QPR boss Mark Warburton admitting his club made a mistake in allowing Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze to attend their game on Saturday – the latest in a string of high-profile breaches involving top-flight players.

And Bent has urged the FA to consider grouping Premier League players into a secure bubble for a month to stop the ever-growing spread of the virus, similar to what the NBA did to complete their 2020 season.

The NBA set up its own bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida where basketball stars were kept with their teammates for a three-month period to finish the season.

Eze was seen watching his old team in the FA Cup at the weekend despite the national lockdown

Getty Images – Getty

Eze was seen watching his old team in the FA Cup at the weekend despite the national lockdown

Twenty-two of the thirty NBA teams were invited to participate, with games being held behind closed doors at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the teams staying at Disney World hotels.

“Listen, we’ve seen it work in other sports,” Bent said on Tuesday’s talkSPORT Breakfast. “You look at the NBA for instance last season.

“They did it for three months by the way. Moved into that secure bubble, I think it was Disneyland.

“Obviously if you left the bubble for any reason you had to self-isolate there for two weeks.

Simon Jordan says that despite not breaking lockdown rules, Celtic have made football a target of discussion again after ill-advised trip of Dubai

“If we do it for four weeks at a training ground I think it would work, it would get the numbers down because you can keep track of every player.

“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen in the last few weeks is you can’t trust the footballers at the minute.

“We’re seeing some break protocol; we’ve seen some mix at the Christmas period and you’re not supposed to do that.

“The more they mix the more the numbers will go up so for me, I think it would work.

“The NBA did it for four months and if the Premier League do it then it could work.”

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