Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has said he believes Premier League players may have to threaten a strike if they want football’s governing bodies to take their welfare seriously.
Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has said he is concerned the health and safety of players is being compromised by a hectic fixture list, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Premier League has announced their intention to press ahead with games over Christmas and the new year despite rising COVID-19 cases.
Although Guardiola backed Henderson’s comments, the City manager suggested it might not be enough to force changes, including increasing substitutions from three to five-per-game.
“It should be the players and the managers all together and make a strike; just through words it’s not going to be solved,” Guardiola told a news conference on Thursday.
“For FIFA, the Premier League, the broadcasters, the business is more important than their welfare.
The simplest example is all around the world they have five substitutions; here it’s still three.
“Tell me one argument to take care of players’ welfare than this one.
“OK, we don’t play anymore until we solve that situation. Maybe then the people are going to pay attention.
“I don’t think [a strike would happen] because we want to play, we want to continue.
Make the people happy going to the stadium on the 26th, 27th, 29th, 31st [of December] and 1st [of January] and play games because we love to do that.
I’m not saying there’s a reason to make a strike.
But when people say World Cups, European Cups, Carabao Cup semifinals over two legs, and FA Cups and the Premier League; more games and more games and less holidays.
“They need holidays. They need a rest for two or three weeks. And now we talk about welfare for players in that moment? No. It’s a problem.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola said City will not sign a new striker in January even if Ferran Torres leaves for Barcelona.
The Spain international is close to moving to Camp Nou in a deal worth around £47 million plus add-ons, sources have told ESPN, and Guardiola said the club did not want to stand in the way once he had made it clear he wanted to go.–ESPNFC