Manchester United legend Gary Neville is seemingly unhappy with the Premier League for planning a return despite the threat of COVID-19 still looming large. The league is reportedly determined to resume all football activities by June and have already instructed clubs to begin training in mid-May. As a part of 'Project Restart', the Premier League is reportedly planning to deploy tests for almost 20,000 players and staff to ensure safety and also find a conclusion to their currently halted season.
Gary Neville is not happy: pic.twitter.com/gKvycwkHej— Digital Jerseys (@Fasn_Designs) April 29, 2020
However, Gary Neville is not a big supporter of a Premier League return as he criticised the top officials for prioritising economic factors over player safety. The former Man United skipper turned pundit joined Sky Sports on The Football Show Wednesday podcast where he vented his frustrations with the league's decision to resume football in the wake of the pandemic.
"People are now assessing risk. How many people have to die playing football in the Premier League before it becomes unpalatable? One? One player? One member of staff goes into intensive care? What risk do we have to take?" Gary Neville said on the podcast.
Gary Neville further suggested that the only reason a Premier League return is being discussed is to avoid an economic debacle. If the situation was decided based on non-economic decisions, there would no football activities for months, according to Neville. The former Man United star further explained that players at lower levels and those whose contracts will run out in three months will want to play to continue earning a paycheck. Meanwhile, the top clubs in the league have huge investments, TV rights deal and several sponsorship deals at stake if the season fails to resume. However, Gary Neville feels the Premier League and the UK Government should follow suit with France and declare their season over.
Meanwhile, Premier League's 'Project Restart' seems to be gathering pace as on Wednesday it was reported that the UK Government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has approved the league's five-point framework for a return. Per the British media, Premier League clubs are planning to resume training by May 18 to prepare for the season to restart in June. League officials are also planning to run a massive testing operation to ensure player safety, with reports of over 26,000 tests being prepared for players and staff. The Premier League plans to resume the season in June and complete all its fixtures by July in time for UEFA's European competitions.