‘This virus isn’t going anywhere in 2-4 weeks!’: Gary Neville says a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown for football is POINTLESS and the sport has ‘proven it can operate safely’ as defiant clubs back playing on despite Premier League talks over a break
- Premier League players and staff recorded 18 positive Covid-19 cases this week
- Informal talks about a two-week ‘circuit breaker’ pause in the season were held
- Gary Neville believes any two-week pause wouldn’t solve the problem
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also isn’t in favour of bringing Premier League to a halt
- Manchester United manager questioned when the games would be played
- West Brom’s Sam Allardyce is among bosses in favour of two-week shutdown
Gary Neville believes a two-week shutdown of the Premier League to curb a spike in positive Covid-19 cases among players and coaches wouldn’t solve the issue – and Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is of the same opinion.
West Brom manager Sam Allardyce spoke in favour of a fortnight’s pause to try and stop the spread of the virus after 18 positive cases in the top-flight but Sky Sports pundit Neville disagrees.
Neville tweeted: ‘Football has proven through the last 6 months it can operate safely. It was right to be cautious and concerned through the first lockdown when the virus was new and unknown.
‘It shouldn’t stop now in my opinion. This virus isn’t going anywhere in 2-4 weeks!!’
Gary Neville believes a two-week shutdown of the Premier League would achieve little amid a spike in positive coronavirus cases inside top-flight clubs
Responding to Sam Allardyce’s comments in favour of a two-week pause, Neville tweeted that football shouldn’t stop and that football has proven it can continue in a safe manner
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘can’t see the benefit’ of pausing the Premier League for two weeks as a ‘circuit breaker’ following a spike in positive Covid-19 cases among players and staff
Solskjaer with his Manchester United players after their 1-0 victory over Wolves on Tuesday
The latest round of testing among top-flight players and staff came after the postponement of Monday’s Everton vs Manchester City fixture.
It has since emerged that Wednesday night’s game between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham is in doubt after a number of positive cases at the west London club.
Informal talks about a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ pause in the Premier League season have been held but Solskjaer is concerned about the knock-on effects.
‘It’s not something I’ve thought about a lot. I think our players have been really good in following protocols and rules,’ Solskjaer said after United’s 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
‘That’s part of the job here, that we as clubs follow the protocols given. I can’t see the benefit in having a circuit break, whatever it’s going to be called.
A increase in cases, including an outbreak at Man City, has seen concerns grow around playing
City stars Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus have tested positive as well as three unnamed players
‘Because when are we going to play the games? We all know this year is so difficult, but I don’t think stopping the games is going to make a big, big change.’
Marcus Rashford’s 94th-minute winner beat Wolves at Old Trafford and moved United into second place, two points behind Liverpool, who play at Newcastle United on Wednesday night.
A total of 1,479 players and staff at the 20 Premier League clubs were tested for coronavirus between December 21 and 27, with the 18 who returned positive results now self-isolating.
It is the highest number of positive outcomes in the league since Project Restart. The previous highest was when 16 tested positive in November.
As revealed by Sportsmail, the Government has held talks with football authorities amid the increasing number of positive tests as a new strain of the virus sweeps the country.
There have also been a number of positive cases in the Sheffield United camp in recent weeks
Premier League clubs have held informal discussions about a fortnight break but this would place immense strain on an already congested fixture calendar.
Premier League Covid enforcement inspectors have warned clubs to tighten training-ground protocols following a number of reported breaches in recent weeks.
Sheffield United and Fulham reported multiple positive tests, though the Blades’ match against Burnley on Tuesday still went ahead.
West Brom boss Sam Allardyce has called for a two-week ‘circuit breaker’ in English football
The two-week shutdown received the backing of West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce.
‘Everyone’s safety is more important than anything else,’ he said. ‘When I listen to the news the variant virus transmits quicker than the original virus [so] we can only do the right thing which is have a circuit break.
‘I am 66 years old and the last thing I want to do is catch Covid. I’m very concerned for myself and football in general.
‘If that’s what needs to be done we need to do it. We had one positive this week and it seems to be creeping around no matter how hard we try.’