Gary Neville has warned that restarting the Premier League could cause football deaths and believes the game could become unpleasant.
The British coronavirus death toll at the last count was 21,678 and hundreds still die every day.
Neville thinks the push to resume Premier League action in June is a purely economic decision and could be disastrous if a player, member of staff or anyone associated with a club dies or goes to intensive care.
Gary Neville warned that the money at stake is blurring judgments about restarting football
The game will resume in June and group training is scheduled for mid-May
The current plan, ‘Project Restart’, is that players resume group training together in mid-May and then start competitive matches behind closed doors in June.
The Premier League will oversee a massive test operation to keep those involved as safe as possible, with £ 4 million to be spent on 26,000 tests, but Neville says there is still a real risk factor.
He told the Sky Sports Football Show, “The FIFA doctor said football should not be held until September. I think if it was a non-economic decision, there wouldn’t be football for months.
“People are now assessing the risk. How many people must die while playing in the Premier League before it gets unpleasant? A? A player? Does an employee go to intensive care? What risk should we take? The discussion is purely economic. ‘
And former Manchester United defender who turned pundit claims that the money offered and the risk of financial ruin cloud people’s judgment.
David Luiz and the Arsenal players are among those who are back in isolated training at their club
He added, “There will be people who will consider it a risk factor. Players want to play for themselves. Lower level players want to start playing and 1,400 players are out of contract.
Clubs are investing a lot in this season. Think about what’s at stake for Leeds, it’s absolutely huge. Great prizes are up for grabs. There is enormous economic loss. It clouds people’s minds about the risk they want to take. ‘
The proposed Premier League start date may be further reduced if the coronavirus situation worsens or does not decrease as expected.
France, the Netherlands and Belgium have all decided to cancel the campaign and when asked to push the Premier League date back further, Neville doubts it could happen until September.
The former Manchester United defender thinks football can quickly become ‘indigestible’
There wouldn’t be fans who can attend matches, but there is still a risk factor, Marcel says
“I think it’s hard to pick it up because of the contract situations involving players at existing clubs,” he continued.
‘An extra month would be nice, but going to August and September is difficult to do. The government intervened in France. Our government is testing the water. It is typical of our government: £ 4 million in tests. They instill food every day and test the water before making a decision. They probably wait for the Bundesliga and then go back there.
“I keep coming back to the fact that when a player or employee goes into intensive care, what will they do? That’s what’s on this shoulder. They are not sure.
And he further argued that if there were a rescue package for teams struggling to survive, there would be an easier decision to cancel the season.
‘They (the government) must give the green light from an occupational health and safety point of view. I don’t think a competition violates government guidelines. I said this six weeks ago when they said it was okay to go to Cheltenham. They flopped. All competitions were closed. They had to make a decision.
He thinks the government is waiting for the general response before putting down their cards
“If an economic package has been introduced for football that protects clubs and players for a year, you will make a wise decision about health. At the moment, we still see economic decisions determining whether or not football will return. ‘
The fact that the coronavirus crisis hits clubs lower in the leagues, much more than the Premier League, can lead to long-term changes in the game.
Marcel thinks that the coronavirus crisis can lead the governing bodies to take stock and press the reset button.
“It has to be done. If this doesn’t reset the football, nothing will happen. The Premier League bottom club will receive £ 100 million for bottoming out. If they all took £ 5 million less, that would be £ 100 million more for the EFL. If it were £ 10 million, it would be £ 200 million.
“It is not huge amounts to only distribute to EFL clubs, the basis … we do not have an allied structure. Everyone has different interests. Even EFL clubs have separate interests. We don’t have a commissioner. I don’t even know who the minister of sports is! Have we even heard of him? The other ministers are on TV for the daily briefings. Why doesn’t he come on TV to discuss this?
“I can only assume that they are working on something very special behind the scenes: a package to protect EFL clubs, PL clubs and the players and a redistribution of wealth in the longer term. And cut costs for fans. This is the crisis that allows us to do this. ‘
There are some players with conditions that are more at risk for coronavirus than others and that’s something that should be assessed, Neville added.
Neville thinks that quarantining players may only be feasible for the Premier League and not EFL
‘If health is paramount, there is currently only one outcome. How many players have asthma? How many players have diabetes? Have they assessed all these things and are they willing to endanger those people?
“If so, we all show up and comment on those games. With our fingers crossed, we don’t have an incident every day where one of our players or an employee gets sick. ‘
Marcel also spoke as a co-owner of League Two’s Salford City, admitting that they had already faced countless difficulties in discussing how to limit player exposure.
“We had an hour-long internal meeting for Salford,” he explained. “This was a call between the manager, doctor and chairman. When the players enter the stadium or training area, where are they changed, how do they travel, how do they stay separated?
“All of those things carry risks, especially if you start marking people on corners and doing things you normally would. We couldn’t think of the idea that our players went back to their families who had been out to mix, the players went out to get back to normal – we definitely didn’t feel we could control 24 players and their families in June , when we know that the lock restrictions are lifted, families move to areas where the coronavirus is.
“Even if you keep a really sterile environment, there is no way to keep it up. If players can see 10 people, we cannot guarantee that the other nine people will be in a sterile environment. We cannot guarantee it. You have come to the conclusion that the Premier League players may have to be quarantined for six weeks.
“Okay, that can be delivered at Premier League level, but not at League One or League Two level. They don’t have the money. We decided that the L1 and L2 levels are not available, that is the conclusion we came to at Salford. That is why they have said in other countries that we should move forward in September. ‘