Manchester United legend Gary Neville rips Premier League’s handling of coronavirus situation

Manchester United legend Gary Neville bashed the Premier League on Twitter on Sunday for the league’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The English top flight was one of the last leagues in Europe to suspend play with the COVID-19 situation becoming more concerning by the day last month.

The former England international, who now works in TV, pointed out five issues he had with the league’s handling of the crisis:

  1. Neville said the league was too slow to lock down and shouldn’t have tried to play that one last weekend of games. The league allowed Leicester City and Aston Villa to play on March 9, then called off Manchester City vs. Arsenal scheduled for March 11. The following weekend action was set to continue on March 14 before the league pulled the plug just a day before after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta contracted COVID-19.
  2. Neville was critical of league employees being furloughed as a result, calling it a “PR disaster.”
  3. He accused the league of “turning on players publicly” and “trying to blindside them.”
  4. The former Valencia coach also took issue with there being no increase in funding for lower division clubs, who are being hit even harder than Premier League clubs as a result of the pandemic. 
  5. Neville also said that all stakeholders are unhappy with the league’s approach to the situation. 

Premier League’s executives met with the EFL and others on Friday, and the hope is that play can continue at some point this summer. 

Neville does make some interesting points, none more so than the first. It was unbelievable that the league was trying to get those weekend games in less than a month ago, especially considering how the virus had already impacted the sport. Numerous games in the Champions League just days prior were played, some without fans, while other competitions were already suspended like Serie A. Liverpool hosted Atletico Madrid in a game UCL on March 11 that saw fans visit Anfield, which Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp supposedly called “criminal.”

Neville, 45, played for Manchester United from 1992-2011, winning every trophy possible. He represented the English national team 85 times.