Opinion

English persistence with football amid vicious virus is a disgrace

Villa Park, where a coronavirus-hit Aston Villa side are schedule to play Liverpool in the FA Cup Source: Getty Images

English football has scaled new heights of breathtaking greed and blatant disregard for the players’ and supporters' safety by persisting with the professional game while the country is in coronavirus lockdown.

The Premier League is one of the world's strongest and most popular domestic competitions but the game in England is alienating many people by refusing to do the right thing and suspend the competition.

The vicious virus that has claimed more than 77,000 lives in Britain is showing no signs of sparing the game in England.

Already several premiership matches have been postponed due to an outbreak of cases within clubs.

Now comes the news that Aston Villa's FA Cup tie with Liverpool scheduled for Saturday (AEST) might not go ahead.

Villa have closed their Bodymoor Heath training ground after "a significant coronavirus outbreak" at the club, with first-team training cancelled after players and staff returned positive results.

The third-round clash between Shrewsbury Town and Southampton has been postponed after several members of the League One side returned positive results while Derby County have revealed they will select a side of under-18 and under-23 players for their tie at non-league Chorley, with interim boss Wayne Rooney and his first-team squad staying at home after a virus outbreak at the Championship club.

Yet the irresponsible professional game insists on playing on and endangering the health of players, staff and their families. And that of the supporters at large, of course.

All this just to not miss out on the television riches that enable the clubs to pay the top stars their obscene wages.

This is an absolute disgrace, if you ask me.

As more players test positive for COVID-19 and reports emerge of professional players breaking the rules in their free time, football is actually playing a part in spreading the virus rather than containing it.

Ordinary fans who are forced into lockdown must be wondering if they are indeed mere commodities in a massive industry that pretends to care for its supporters but in fact does not give a damn as long as the 'mighty dollar' keeps rolling in.

Ordinary businesses that are doing it so tough that some of them were forced to close must be wondering why football is receiving special treatment from the government.

And all this for the privilege of providing lifeless football telecasts with fake sound effects to make it look like the real thing.

England is not the only major country that persists with its football and, as we know all too well, greed is prevalent everywhere, even in Australia.

Yet nowhere in Europe's major leagues is the virus hitting football as hard as it is doing in England and with so little being done to enforce the pandemic rules.

England also faces a growing threat of a more contagious variant of the virus.  

Football is recognised as the beautiful game that means a lot to a lot of people in a lot of countries, but if there is one feature that makes our sport look ugly and cynical, it must be greed.