A. Dmitrijev: “We don’t think about any COVID-19 problems. We miss to play futsal!”

President of Narva United Alexander Dmitriev told about physical conditions of the team before the start of the season, shared some details of preseason preparations and admitted that the epidemiological situation influenced it a lot.

Are you satisfied how team is prepared for the season a few weeks before the start? Have you complete all the plans you approved?

I can say that the preparations were held on a regular basis, with the exception of a few nuances. First of all, the renovation of our home arena, including the complete replacement of the playing court, so it was possible for us to start work in the hall only in the last days of September. Besides, we have significant changes in our roster, it affected the training process either. We finally completed the formation of the team this week, with the exception of one or two positions, so we are ready to start some tactical exercises. This system is common to all Estonian clubs except those that participate in the Champions League – they begin preseason preparations quite earlier.
Unfortunately, the situation with the coronavirus pandemic has already made its adjustments and will affect us during the championship. Border between Russia and the EU is closed, so our Russian players from Kingisepp will probably not be able to participate this season, as well as our head coach Mikhail Romanov.

How do you communicate with the head coach? How hard is it for guys to practice in such format when the coach is in another country?

The interaction with Mikhail takes place rather through the management, we are trying to work how we did last season. During the season, we will definitely keep in touch with Mikhail, watch the games together and do analytical work.

Are there any friendlies planned before the start of the season?

The first round of the Estonian Championship will take place on 31 October, week before there will be a match for the Super Cup. We plan to hold our traditional tournament in Narva, which is very popular among a number of teams, but unfortunately this year there will be no teams from abroad. Also we plan to have a friendly game with Cosmos next week, however, it hasn’t been decided yet where it will take place – in Narva or Tallinn.

How guys feel about the start of the season with the fact that the epidemiological situation in Europe is getting more complicated, and it is quite possible that the season may be quite unusual once again?

We try not to think about possible stops and cancellations related to the virus. Everyone’s really missing the futsal, so we just want to start playing. The pause was too long.

Is it possible to say that the upcoming season will be the most difficult in the history of the club, with problems in preparations and unpredictable situation with COVID-19?

I hope the most difficult moment of this season is over. We’ve lost a significant part of our squad because of the closed borders, and a few local guys won’t be able to help us either – someone moved to Tallinn, someone moved abroad. Unfortunately, every year we have this problem – guys change their place of residence or work, and they have to leave Narva. So the formation of the squad was a very difficult moment, but in the end it worked out quite well. Now we have to work with the squad that we have formed.

Do you plan to allow spectators to attend your games? Are there any restrictions from the city court or the football union?

Unfortunately, restrictions have begun to appear again. Currently, 50% of the total capacity of the indoor area is allowed, with a total capacity of no more than 700 people. Our arena has a capacity of exactly 720 viewers, so in this case, we can let 300 to 350 people in. In general, it’s a normal attendance rate for the regular season, so no one should be left out. I really hope that the restrictions won’t be tightened in the future.

Are there any preventive measures within the team to handle the spread of coronavirus?

We don’t use anything unordinary, just like anyone else does – we use disinfectants. It is likely that masks will be necessary in Estonia once more, and the sports that take place in the halls will be affected. In any case, probably before the start of the season we will be given some instructions for this moment.

The BFL’s new season is scheduled to start in December. Do you think that the team has the strength and the internal resources to perform well in two tournaments at once?

I don’t want to get ahead of our performance in Baltic Futsal League. Last year, participation in such a tournament was a new experience for us, it was difficult to imagine how we would handle it, but we played our games with dignity. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, it was not possible to play the most interesting games for us in the home arena. As for the new season, it is not all up to us – the Estonian Football Union has introduced some changes in the regulations that can limit the BFL’s performances of both the team and the players. We are negotiating with the Union’s board on this matter and hope that the situation will be resolved.