English Premiership

Neville: Premier League return not worth the risk

Gary Neville (Getty Images)
Gary Neville (Getty Images)

Football pundit Gary Neville has serious doubts that Premier League football can justifiably return when people's lives remain at risk.

Professor Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical officer, admitted on Wednesday that social distancing measures will need to be in place until at least the end of the year to prevent fresh outbreaks of the coronavirus.

The Premier League has been suspended indefinitely as football continues to seek ways of finishing the season safely with possible start dates pushed back.

And in the wake of Whitty's comments, Neville is unsure how the Premier League is going to get the current season going.

Neville told Sky Sports News: "It feels like a parallel universe. I have meetings on our two hotels at 07:30 in the morning where we are being told that people won't be able to sit within two metres of each other when we are in restaurants.

"Capacities in restaurants are going to go down to 50%, members of staff that are serving the food are going to have to have gloves on and protective masks to stop the spread of infection.

"Then you go into a meeting an hour later on football where they are talking about players playing football and jumping for headers against each other.

"Hang on second, I've just been in a meeting before where you couldn't even have a person at a table without being two metres away from them and having a protective mask on.

"It just does not work! There's one simple thing that I thought a month or two ago, that football would continue, and we could get behind closed doors football. I'm very very doubtful as I sit here today, the more I hear, the more I listen…on contract situations that Jamie (Redknapp) mentioned.

"An employer cannot put his employees at risk based on health and safety grounds and there will be a liability issue for employers. As a Salford City owner, I've got players with diabetes, I've got players with asthma.

"Am I going to put them on a football field and risk their health and safety for a game of football? And the answer is quite simply no. So, I'm not sure how Premier League clubs are going to get around it, this testing thing is a nonsense, it really is.

"There's no way the Premier League can sell to the public that they are going to have access to tens of thousands of tests, while frontline workers haven’t got them."

- TEAMtalk media

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