Stepan Tšernoussov, FC Cosmos (Tallinn) General Manager, speaks on the oncoming start of the Estonian championship, on the players’ condition, and on the upcoming season specifics in terms of the current epidemiologic situation in the country.
— Has the national championship been already scheduled? How will the schedule be followed in the light of pandemic?
— The Estonian championship calendar has been made by now. The first round is scheduled on October 31. All the highest division teams start on the same day. We are having our first play in Tartu versus Ravens whom we met in playoffs quarterfinal last season. The number of coronavirus patients is continually growing in Estonia, but there are no any global restrictions yet. Having a total lockdown in early March with 80-100 COVID-19 cases, we have nothing of the kind now (Note: with 30-40 news cases daily in October). For instance, the Meistriliiga (Premium League) continues with fans admitted without even any talks of postponement. So, we are getting ready to start the season according to the prepared schedule.
— That is, the fans will be able to attends matches without any limits beginning from the very first round, will they?
— There still may be some restrictions or limitations in regard to the number of visitors, for we play indoors which is more challenging than outdoor football, being an enclosed space. But we have got no directions by the Estonian Football Association in this regard whatsoever so far.
— Is there any sanitary protocol for a championship in the current conditions, then?
— Non has been adopted yet, but the clubs may be provided with certain regulations a week or two before the first round, I suppose. Team representatives shall have a meeting before the season start that a sanitary protocol may be adopted or some definite guidelines given at.
— The season starts rather late due to epidemiologic threat. Will the teams have to adapt their regular life cycle to such extraordinary schedule?
— Indeed, to a certain extent. But we are ready for a long season. Even if lasting till May or June it will pose no difficulty for us. We can start later, we can finish later, we can even do without a break between seasons.
— How do Cosmos prepare to the new season in the current conditions?
— We have got a two-week outdoor training session to improve physical condition. Last week we started indoor training, and we have rather many a player involved which is great. Unfortunately, literally yesterday Alexander Vtorushin, Baltic Cyberfutsal League Champion in singles, was injured with a malleolar fracture and had to leave even before the season is started, accordingly. Besides, our Coach Sergey Svetlov still cannot cross the closed Russian border to arrive in Tallinn and manages the training process remotely.
— Will you have any test play before the season start?
— We are talking to potential sparring teams to have three test plays before the season begins.
— Will there be newcomers to the team?
— We are waiting for two players for evaluation, but atop of them we have quite a crowd at the training sessions. Say, there were 19 yesterday! Taking into account the second BFL season, we will be very busy and therefore are contented to have the set of players complete.