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Coronavirus: Rooney slams UK government

Derby County forward Wayne Rooney has criticised the United Kingdom government and football authorities over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.

The former Manchester United and England captain says he would “never forgive the authorities” if his family fell ill as a result and feels that footballers in the country “were being treated like guinea pigs.”

“Why did we wait until Friday? Why did it take Mikel Arteta to get ill for the game in England to do the right thing?,” wrote Rooney in his column in The Times.

“For players, staff and their families it has been a worrying week – one in which you felt a lack of leadership from the government and from the FA and Premier League.

“After the emergency meeting, at last the right decision was made – until then it almost felt like footballers in England were being treated like guinea pigs.

“I know how I feel. If any of my family get infected through me because I’ve had to play when it’s not safe, and they get seriously ill, I’d have to think hard about ever playing again. I would never forgive the authorities.

“The rest of sport – tennis, Formula One, rugby, golf, football in other countries – was closing down and we were being told to carry on.

“I think a lot of footballers were wondering, “Is it something to do with money being involved in this?”

The 34-year-old father of four added that he believes the authorities must come together to consider a radical re-structuring of the fixture calendar once the COVID-19 scare is over and football can resume.

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