Atlanta United president Darren Eales reaffirms confidence in safety after positive tests

Darren Eales - Atlanta United - press conference

Concern is natural after Atlanta United revealed that two players tested positive for COVID-19, though club president Darren Eales is confident that measures are in place to maintain safety.

The asymptomatic cases, which were announced last Thursday and Friday, resulted in the club going from full-team contact training to individual training. Should further tests come back negative, the Five Stripes would return to the former.

Eales noted how clubs around the world – most notably, the Bundesliga, Serie A, Premier League and La Liga are all back – have handled such news in stride.

“This is something that a lot of the leagues in Europe that are already playing have been going through,” Eales said. “The reassuring thing is that it's about making sure, through the testing that you're [conducting] on a constant basis and the measures in place, that you don't have a growth in terms of players that are suffering from getting the [virus.] That's the important thing.”

As the players isolate, the MLS is Back Tournament is also nearing with each passing day. Eales reaffirmed his confidence in the six-week event, which includes every player and staff member staying in the same hotel complex in Florida.

“The reality is that the procedure for the tournament was built up over a lot of discussions with all of the medical experts, whether that's medical experts guiding the league, medical experts guiding the players' union,” Eales said. “They came up with the concept, and you've seen that with both MLS and the NBA, which are in a similar type of scenario.”

Eales also noted that Atlanta can’t control what players do outside of the training ground, though hopes they practice proper social-distancing measures, extensively wash their hands and wear masks when applicable. Those preventative steps, plus extensive testing, should help to curb any outbreak.

“These are the things that are going to happen, and that's why it's so important that we have consistent testing that we're having to be able to flag it up,” Eales said. “It's so you can limit any exposure once you get a positive test."