Players Treated Like ‘Guinea Pigs’ Over Coronavirus: Rooney


Wayne Rooney

English footballer, Wayne Rooney, has accused the British government and football authorities of waiting for the coronavirus outbreak to get out of hand before taking actions.

The former Manchester United captain accused the authority of treating footballers like “guinea pigs”, saying he would “never forgive” them if his family fell ill as a result of COVID-19.

While footballing activities were brought to halt in other parts of Europe due to the coronavirus crisis, the Premier League, English Football League, Women’s Super League and men and women’s FA Cup competitions were suspended on Friday.

The suspension came on the back of an emergency meeting initiated after Mikel Arteta, Arsenal coach, tested positive for the virus on Thursday.

In his column for The Times, Rooney, a Derby County striker said, “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?”

“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.

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“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?

“We’re happy to play until September if the season extends to then, if that’s how it has to be. That’s our job. ”