Footballers treated as ‘guinea pigs’ during Coronavirus

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There have been very strong words from former England Football Captain Wayne Rooney who says the government and football authorities have treated footballers as “guinea pigs” during the coronavirus outbreak.

Elite football in Britain has been suspended until at least 3 April, with the Premier League saying “conditions at the time” will determine its return.

“For players, staff and their families it has been a worrying week,” he said.

“One in which you felt a lack of leadership from the government and from the FA and Premier League.”

Writing in his column in the Sunday Times, the former England captain said: “The rest of sport – tennis, Formula 1, rugby, golf, football in other countries – was closing down and we were being told to carry on.

“I think a lot of footballers were wondering, ‘Is it something to do with money being involved in this?’. Why did we wait until Friday? Why did it take Mikel Arteta [Arsenal manager] to get ill for the game in England to do the right thing?

“After the emergency meeting, at last the right decision was made – until then it almost felt like footballers in England were being treated like guinea pigs.

“I know how I feel. If any of my family get infected through me because I’ve had to play when it’s not safe, and they get seriously ill, I’d have to think hard about ever playing again. I would never forgive the authorities.”

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