Guardiola threatens strike action over player welfare

Will Ford
Man City boss Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says players and managers may be forced into going on strike to force the Premier League to take notice of player welfare.

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson said this week that not enough is being done to protect footballers amid rising coronavirus cases, game postponements and fixture congestion.

MAILBOX: Four reasons Jurgen Klopp is the new Arsene Wenger

Two Boxing Day fixtures have already been cancelled due to coronavirus and Guardiola believes there may need to be direct action to force the hands of the powers that be.

Guardiola said: “It should be the players and managers all together making a strike. With words alone it’s not going to be solved.

“The Premier League, the business, is more important than the welfare. Five substitutes – now we have to discuss about that, what they decide will be okay about that.

“Do you know how many times we discuss it? A lot.

“The welfare of the players should be the most important thing, but when we talk about the welfare of the players, it’s the only country that has just three subs, not five.

“You have to decide for the broadcasters or the Premier League, but for the welfare of the players, it’s not going to happen.”

Guardiola doesn’t believe it will come to clubs actually going on strike: “No, I don’t think so, because we want to play. We love to do that.

“It’s not reason to make a strike, but the people say World Cups and European Cups and Carabao Cup semi-finals two legs and more games and more games and another one, and then we played the first two games of the Premier League without players.

“Against Tottenham I had 10 players. It’s not fair. We played against Tottenham with a lack of preparation and we lost. We could lose anyway, because Tottenham away, we can lose.”

City host Leicester on Boxing Day but Guardiola knows there is a good chance the clash will be postponed as Covid cases continue to rise.

He added: “Leeds against Liverpool was postponed, so there are cases.

“It’s society. It’s not just the Premier League. It’s everywhere. I see the newspapers online every day, rising cases and rising cases.

“What we want is to play the competition fairly and if there are many cases, like with Leicester, our next opponent, is should be cancelled.

“I know how these meetings are. Everybody looks at himself. That’s all. Whatever the Premier League decides with the managers will be okay.”