Former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney claims that the UK government and football authorities treated players like "guinea pigs" during the coronavirus crisis.
While the rest of European football has been shut down due to the growing global pandemic threat, Rooney is furious that it took several days for the Premier League and Football League to postpone their games until April 3.
It was only when Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus on Friday that the British football associations called for a temporary season freeze.
Rooney, currently playing for the second division derby, said they should have acted faster and the former captain of England said he would "never forgive" the authorities if his family became ill as a result.
"Why did we wait until Friday? Why did Mikel need Arteta to get sick so the game in England did the right thing? Rooney wrote in the Sunday Times.
“It was a worrying week for players, employees and their families when they experienced a lack of leadership from the government, the FA and the Premier League.
“After the emergency meeting, the right decision was finally made – until then it felt almost like footballers in England were treated like guinea pigs.
“I know how I feel. If someone in my family gets infected through me because I had to play when it is not safe and they get seriously ill, I have to consider whether I should ever play again. I would never forgive the authorities. "
Many non-league games were played in the UK as planned this weekend, and Rooney believes Prime Minister Boris Johnson has "avoided" the problem by letting football make his own decision about playing.
The 34-year-old claimed that money was the key to the authorities' reluctance to cancel games.
"The rest of the sport – tennis, Formula One, rugby, golf, soccer in other countries – was shut down and we were told to continue," said Rooney.
"I think a lot of soccer players asked themselves:" Does this have anything to do with the fact that money is involved? "
Once the virus is under control, Rooney wants a radical change in the schedule, with the current season only ending in September and the next two starting in winter.
"We like to play until September when the season extends until then, if it has to." That is our job. As long as we know that we can play safely and it is a safe environment for the audience, we will play, ”said Rooney.
“The next World Cup will take place in November and December 2022. So you could actually take this situation as an opportunity and say that we will end the 2019-20 season later this year and then prepare for 2022 by having the next two seasons starting in winter. "
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