Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo fears another halt to Premier League action amid the coronavirus pandemic could give the country’s biggest clubs the opportunity to launch a European Super League.
The English football authorities are carrying out regular tests on players and club staff, and the number of positive cases is rising, with 40 declared in the Premier League last week.
This has led to a number of games being postponed, while Tottenham will play Fulham – not Aston Villa – on Wednesday as part of the rearranged schedule.
Spurs had been due to travel to Villa Park for a midweek fixture, but their opponents requested a new date due to their players and staff either testing positive for COVID-19 or being placed in isolation as close contacts.
Instead, Jose Mourinho’s side are to host Fulham in a fixture that was originally postponed on December 30 due to a spike in reported coronavirus cases at Craven Cottage.
The rise in cases has led to growing calls for a circuit break – a tight set of restrictions, likely including the suspension of games, designed to reverse the tide of the pandemic.
— Wolves (@Wolves) January 11, 2021
Nuno, however, is concerned about the future of the Premier League should they be forced to stop playing like they did for three months during the second half of the 2019-20 season.
“The virus was something that we had never experienced so there were a lot of doubts,” he told a media conference ahead of Wolves’ clash with Everton on Tuesday. “Now, after the re-start, I think everybody made a big effort and there were protocols, meetings, decisions.
“We were assured that, no matter what, we were playing because we only needed 14 players to play a match. Now things have changed and we start thinking about stopping again.
“I don’t know for sure what is better but I think and I am afraid that the decision is to stop football. This is my biggest fear. The schedule will go crazy. [It will be] impossible to even finish the league.
“What I feel is that if we stop, everything will change. The Super League’ will probably come, and other competitions which will help clubs survive.
“Basically, my opinion is based on the economy of the clubs, the idea that you start feeling other competitions emerging because the industry needs to find ways to survive and move forward.
“Based on what we have now, probably, if you make a quick comparison with what’s happening in the economic industry, if you have a crisis, the strong will survive, what about the rest?
“What is happening now will have an effect on the future, everybody is aware of that. Young boys are not training, playing football. I think it’s clear.”
Liverpool and Manchester United were reportedly approached in talks over a FIFA-backed European league last October, while the rejected “Project Big Picture” was viewed in some quarters as a cynical attempt by the biggest clubs in England to use the new realities of the pandemic as a means by which to increase their power base.
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