Jürgen Klopp: “If it’s a choice between football and the good of the wider society, it’s no contest. Really, it isn’t.”

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This is not to be construed as support for Liverpool FC. I’m loyal to the hometown of the mother-in-law I never had the pleasure of meeting, and pull for Plymouth Argyle, currently League 2, and was in 3rd place — a position for promotion — when the coronavirus shutdown came. 

From sportswriter Dave Zirin at The Nation: Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp Shines Amid the Coronavirus Crisis.

If there is one person in the entire sports world who deserves a tip of the hat, it’s the manager of Liverpool Football Club, Jürgen Klopp …

… On March 4, he was asked about the coronavirus and said, “What I don’t like in life is that [for] a very serious thing, a football manager’s opinion is important. It’s not important what famous people say. People with knowledge will talk about it and tell people to do this, do that, and everything will be fine, or not. Not football managers.”

But above all else has been a statement issued by Klopp this week to Liverpool fans. It’s beautiful and deserves to be read in full.

Here it is.

I don’t think this is a moment where the thoughts of a football manager should be important, but I understand for our supporters they will want to hear from the team and I will front that.

First and foremost, all of us have to do whatever we can to protect one another. In society, I mean. This should be the case all the time in life, but in this moment I think it matters more than ever.

I’ve said before that football always seems the most important of the least important things. Today, football and football matches really aren’t important at all.

Of course, we don’t want to play in front of an empty stadium and we don’t want games or competitions suspended, but if doing so helps one individual stay healthy—just one—we do it no questions asked.

If it’s a choice between football and the good of the wider society, it’s no contest. Really, it isn’t.

Today’s decision and announcement is being implemented with the motive of keeping people safe. Because of that we support it completely. We have seen members of teams we compete against become ill. This virus has shown that being involved in football offers no immunity. To our rival clubs and individuals who are affected and to those who later will become so, you are in our thoughts and prayers.

None of us know in this moment what the final outcome will be, but as a team we have to have belief that the authorities make decisions based on sound judgement and morality.

Yes, I am the manager of this team and club and therefore carry a leadership responsibility with regards to our future on the pitch. But I think in the present moment, with so many people around our city, the region, the country and the world facing anxiety and uncertainty, it would be entirely wrong to speak about anything other than advising people to follow expert advice and look after themselves and each other.

The message from the team to our supporters is only about your well-being. Put your health first. Don’t take any risk. Think about the vulnerable in our society and act where possible with compassion for them.

Please look after yourselves and look out for each other.

You’ll Never Walk Alone,

Jürgen

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