Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says players and coaches should consider going on strike about player welfare concerns to get football authorities to take the issue seriously.
Amid the rising COVID-19 outbreak in the Premier League which has seen games postponed, clubs are scheduled to have three matchdays during the traditional upcoming festive week.
The Man City boss provocatively suggested that players and managers should strike in response to the situation to demand a reduction in their workload.
“Should the players and the managers be all together and make a strike?” Guardiola said during the post-game news conference.
“Just through words it’s not going to be solved. For FIFA, the Premier League, the broadcasters, the business is more important than their welfare.
“The simplest example is all around the world they have five substitutions; here it’s still three. Tell me one argument to take care of players’ welfare than this one? Here, where everyone decides for themselves, we didn’t do it.
“I don’t think [a strike would happen] because we want to play, we want to continue. Make the people happy going to the stadium on the 26th, 27th, 29th, 31st [December] and 1st [January] and play games because we love to do that.
“I’m not saying there’s a reason to make a strike. But when people say World Cups, European Cups, Carabao Cup semifinals over two legs, and FA Cups and the Premier League; more games and more games and less holidays.
“They need holidays. They need a rest for two or three weeks. And now we talk about welfare for players in that moment? No. It’s a problem.”
Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) chief executive Maheta Molango reinforced Guardiola’s messaging, adding that the issue cannot be ignored any longer.
“I can tell you that it isn’t going away. Players don’t choose to speak out on issues like this without having given it a lot of thought,” he said. “As their union, the PFA enables players to stand together. That unity gives them enormous strength.
“Now it’s up to those who run the game at all levels to begin to take this seriously so it’s an issue that can be addressed constructively with players at the heart of the conversation. That has to happen now.”
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