Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has revealed his frustration with the continuation of the Premier League, as COVID-19 cases continue to rack up around the country.
Bruce’s side were the first Premier League team to see a game postponed because of the virus this season, with the likes of Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin testing positive, but the number of cases has only grown since then and England has returned to a national lockdown in an attempt to combat the virus.
The Premier League are determined to avoid any extra delays, with next summer’s European Championship meaning there is no time into which the current season can spill over, but Bruce warned league officials that those involved with the teams are putting their lives at risk by continuing.
“I see other clubs struggling with it now and of course there’s Premier League protocols in place but once you leave the training ground you are in the outside world,” Bruce told Sky Sports News. “The speed in which it ripped through us is something all football clubs will be looking at because it is difficult to contain and stop.
“We’ve seen first hand how it affects people – we’ve had two players who were very, very sick and one or two members of staff, one in particular nearly hospitalised. And no-one envisaged this new wave was going to be as powerful as it is.
“Financially it’s right to play on, but for me – morally it’s wrong. I understand people want to play a game of football but we are just as vulnerable as everyone else.”
Footballers have found themselves in the headlines for the wrong reasons over the past few weeks, with a handful of Premier League stars caught out breaking rules over the Christmas period, and players have all been warned to put more consideration into their actions during the current climate.
While Bruce agreed with that message, he questioned the logic of banning players from seeing their friends and family while allowing them to be in close contact with different players from up and down the country.
“Lets be fair, when we are in football we are socialising,” Bruce added. “We may be taking all the protocols the right way and doing everything possible but how do you stop Manchester City from celebrating the way they did the other night?
“They were all in a huddle, celebrating, sweating, exhaling badly. If you stop that, you stop the whole enjoyment of sport.
“All of us are suffering but we are the lucky ones providing an entertainment that people can tune into and watch.
“There will come a stage though where we will have to make a decision – let’s hope there isn’t further outbreaks in the next few weeks.”