Football

It is morally wrong to continue football with rising Covid-19 cases, says Steve Bruce

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Newcastle boss Steve Bruce says it is “morally wrong” for football to continue amid increasing coronavirus outbreaks at clubs.

The Magpies were the first team to have a Premier League match postponed this season, but more than 60 games in England have been called off.

Aston Villa and Derby are also having to field under-23 teams in the FA Cup.

The Premier League has warned it could discipline clubs if they do not act over breaches of Covid-19 rules.

“Financially it’s right to play on, but for me, morally, it’s probably wrong,” said Bruce.

“I understand people want to see a game of football but we are just as vulnerable as everybody else.

“The speed which it hit our club within hours of each other, it was quite incredible how it rips through you. It’s difficult to contain and stop and it leaves people sick.”

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles contracted Covid-19 but could return to face Arsenal in the FA Cup on Saturday, though winger Allan Saint-Maximin has still not recovered from the virus.

Asked about sides having to field weakened teams in the FA Cup because of positive cases, Bruce replied: “It devalues the FA Cup. We understand we are playing seven games in January, after seven in December, and the season has been squashed and there is no room for anything else.

“But to play weakened teams or youth teams – is that the way round it? Not for me.”

Elsewhere, more than 100 positive Covid-19 cases have been recorded after tests were carried out among players and staff at 66 English Football League clubs.

And First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that “all bets are off” if those involved in Scottish professional sport do not respect extra privileges.

©BBC Sports

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