The Derby County forward states that there isn’t any rush to finish the current season with the world from the grip of a pandemic, advocating caution instead.
Wayne Rooney has revealed he wouldn’t be surprised if finishing the 2019-20 soccer campaign took until the end of the year, cutting significantly into next year’s projected calendar.
The prior England captain, who returned to English football in January with Championship outfit Derby County, worried it was vital the sporting world didn’t attempt to buck the trend and force a return to action before it’s deemed secure amid the spread of COVID-19.
Virtually all game around the world has been brought to a standstill amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the few remaining leagues expected to close up shop in the coming days also.
The decision has left many leagues in limbo, including all significant national and continental competitions in Europe, for this year’s Euro 2020 tournament pushed back to next summer.
Nevertheless, many sides are continuing to train as a group, against official information that supports social distancing and self-isolation as countries look to contain the spread of this disease, which has over 300,000 confirmed cases so far with over 13,000 deaths.
Writing in his weekly column in The Times, former Manchester United and Everton ahead Rooney has worried that the present campaign – with Liverpool poised for a first top-flight name in three years and Leeds United and West Brom on track for promotion to the Premier League – must be permitted to conclude, even if it means pushing back the 2020-21 season.
“The world is facing something serious and we in soccer shouldn’t be distinct from the rest of the populace,” he wrote.
“Football is what everyone — particularly in Britain — wakes up thinking about, but it must take a back seat. This crisis is so much larger than our game.
“The one thing missing from all of the statements last week was that the FA judgment that each and every club should keep their players at home and not put anyone in danger, rather than leaving it to individual clubs to pick. I’d love to have noticed that.
“But we now know where we are going. The FA helped to explain the league season will complete and that’s fair.
“Liverpool will win the Premier League. [They] have been fantastic. They’ve put so much work in. They deserve this name. Can you imagine waiting 30 years and then having it taken away like this? The perfect decision was made.
“It is also right concerning promotion and relegation and Champions League places. These issues are so large for the clubs involved I imagine there are a good deal of legal conflicts if the season was just abandoned. The fair thing would be to complete 2019-20 — even if we must lose next season in the procedure.
“It would not surprise me if completing the season takes until the end of 2020. Soccer, like every other business, is in unfamiliar territory and, exactly like every other business, needs to listen to the suggestions and take all necessary precautions. For me, that rules out completing the season behind closed doors.
“When you play behind closed doors it means bringing together a fairly large group of people. You need ambulances, doctors, paramedics. They’re mandatory. Police might be needed too. Why bring them to a soccer match when in this emergency they’ll be needed elsewhere for items which are a lot more important?
“I would not be comfortable playing a game knowing that there were people dying or really sick due to coronavirus and we are taking those employees away from the front line.”