Premier League and Covid – Spurs boss Conte says managers meet ‘like talking to a wall’ – SPORT NEWS PEDIA

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Tottenham manager Antonio Conte says Thursday’s meeting between managers and the Premier League to discuss issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic was like talking to a brick wall.

On Monday the league opted to continue playing through the Christmas period.

Three games from December 26 have already been postponed, bringing the total to 13, while players and club staff posted a record 90 positive tests last week.

When asked if the meeting was a waste of time, Conte said, “I think so.”

The Italian added: “Yesterday was [like talking to] a wall and that’s why I also prefer not to get into it.”

The Premier League has declined to comment and BBC Sport has been told that Spurs boss Conte did not contribute to any discussion within the meeting.

On Thursday, Liverpool v Leeds and Wolves v Watford were postponed due to the coronavirus, while the Boxing Day match between Burnley v Everton was suspended on Friday.

Spurs, who are in seventh place in the table, have been hit hard by the virus with two league games postponed and their last Europa Conference League game lost after they were unable to play.

“If I have to be honest, it was a meeting where we tried to talk and some coaches tried to talk, to ask for solutions, but I think everything was decided,” Conte added.

“Because when you have a wall in front of you, you can talk and ask what you want, but all the decisions were made.”

At Monday’s meeting, clubs were informed that if they have 13 fit players, plus a goalkeeper, they must play their games.

Norwich boss Dean Smith added: “We attended a meeting [of Premier League coaches] yesterday where decisions had already been made, so I think we had already lost the boat in terms of decision making.

“They [the Premier League] decided that the season would continue as it was and now we have to meet the matches, so we have to cope as best we can.”

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira added: “When you have a meeting like that with 20 managers, it is difficult to express your ideas.

“When the meeting ended, I tried to understand what the outcome of the meeting was and what the meeting was for. I still didn’t understand what the meeting’s conclusion was.”

Amid the surge in cases, Liverpool and England midfielder Jordan Henderson told BBC Sport earlier this week that he was “concerned” that “no one is taking the well-being of the players seriously.”

Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola raised the possibility of the players going on strike for their welfare.

He said that he does not believe it will happen, but that a strike may be the only way to get the authorities to listen.

Covid cases like Norwich and Palace
Smith said Friday it was “insane” that his team had to play two games in 48 hours despite more Covid cases on the team.

Canarias, who are last in the table and three points from safety, host Arsenal on Sunday at 15:00 GMT before playing away at Crystal Palace on Tuesday at 15:00.

Smith said Norwich, who has not played since Dec. 14 due to the virus, had “new cases.”

“We are not sure how many will be missed on Boxing Day,” he added.

“There has to be a question about the integrity of the competition when teams play weakened teams against other teams and that is affecting the league standings.”

When asked if he would support a player strike, he added: “I don’t think you can. We have to follow the guidelines of the league we’re in.”

Vieira, who said Palace has “a couple of cases” of Covid at the club, was against a strike.

“I do not know if they would be right to do so, the only thing I can tell you is that I am against this type of strike,” said the Frenchman.

“The really important thing right now is that the voice of the players or the coaches should be heard a little more.”

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