Rooney hits out at Premier League's dealing with coronavirus: Footballers were being treated like guinea pigs

Posted Monday, March 16, 2020 by

Rooney hits out at Premier League's dealing with coronavirus: Footballers were being treated like guinea pigs
Wayne Rooney playing for Derby County

Wayne Rooney has slammed the British authorities for how football has been dealt with amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Football in England was due to go ahead this weekend with fans in attendance until the Premier League and Football Association (FA) called off fixtures after Mikel Arteta had tested positive for COVID-19.

"Why did we wait until Friday? Why did it take Mikel Arteta to get ill for the game in England to do the right thing?" Rooney, who is currently playing for Derby County, wrote in the Times.

"For players, staff and their families it has been a worrying week - one in which you felt a lack of leadership from the government and from the FA and Premier League.

"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.

"The rest of sport - tennis, Formula One, 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?'"

With the rest of the season now up in the air and with the potential postponement of Euro 2020, Rooney had a solution for the footballing calendar.

"We're happy to play until September if the season extends to then, if that's how it has to be," he said.

"That's our job. As long as we know we're safe to play and it's a safe environment for spectators, we'll play.

"The next World Cup is in November and December 2022, so you could actually use this situation as an opportunity and say we're going to finish the 2019-20 season later this year, then prepare for 2022 by having the next two seasons starting in winter."

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