Neville Disapproves Premier League Decision to Resume Play to Make Money during Pandemic


“How many people will die playing football in the Premier League before it is unpalatable? One player? One staff member, who goes into intensive care? What risks do we have to take?” asks former Manchester United defender Gary Neville on The Football Show at Sky Sports.

World football is already at a standstill owing to the outbreak of coronavirus, with the French, Belgian and Dutch leagues having already agreed to call off their respective 2019-20 campaigns.

Neville, though, says the notion of returning to play too quickly has catastrophe potential, and believes that those in control must appeal at health, not economics.

Neville claims the financial dimension of football contributes to hasty talks over the future of the game when the former Manchester United star wondered how many players will have to die before those in control agree that playing is risky. He added, “People are already assessing danger.”

Neville said, “The FIFA medical advisor suggested matches would not take place until September. I believe there will be no sport for months if it is not an economic move.”

Neville claims the decision to put back the start to football is more than a reason, it is an imperative. This decision is however being muddied with monetary concerns.

“People should consider a risk factor,” he said. “Players also may choose to play and participate. Players in the lowest rates will choose to go and 1,400 players are out of contract.” In saying this, Neville shows awareness about the hierarchy of class that still pervades football (as all other areas) even in midst of a pandemic, now risking the very lives off those not well off.

“There are certain athletes with disabilities who may be more in risk of coronavirus than some and this is something that has to be measured. If health comes first, at this point in time there is only one outcome. How many players have asthma? How many players have diabetes? Have they evaluated all of these things and are they willing to put those people at risk?” he says, pointing out privilege of the healthy as well.

“Fingers crossed, I hope we are not going to see an accident every day that will involve one of our athletes or a team member being sick,” concluded Neville.


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