Coronavirus Outbreaks Make It ‘Morally Wrong’ To Keep Playing, Says Steve Bruce

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Steve Bruce has said Jamaal Lascelles (right) is in contention again after suffering the long-term effects of the coronavirus

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce says it is ‘morally wrong’ for football to continue amid growing coronavirus outbreaks in clubs.

The Magpies were the first team to postpone a Premier League game this season, but more than 60 England games have been called off.

Aston Villa and Derby must also field U23 teams in the FA Cup.

“Financially it’s the right to play, but for me, morally it’s probably wrong,” Bruce said.

“I understand that people want to see a football game, but we are as vulnerable as everyone.

“The speed at which he hit our club within hours of each other, it was pretty amazing how he was tearing you apart. It’s hard to contain and stop and it leaves people sick. “

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles and winger Allan Saint-Maximin have both been suffering from the virus for around six weeks, and Bruce said one of his staff was nearly hospitalized.

His side, which face a move with the Arsenal holder in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, saw their game at Aston Villa postponed to December due to a surge in cases at the Northeast club.

Their training ground was also closed for more than a week as they tried to contain the virus.

Villa, who will host Liverpool in the FA Cup on Friday, also had to close their training ground and will field a squad consisting mostly of the Under-23 squad, while the Derby County first team including the manager Wayne Rooney, will miss his FA Cup draw at Chorley on Saturday due to an outbreak.

Bruce, who will welcome defender Lascelles back to his squad for the game at Arsenal, believes games should be postponed instead of continuing with weakened teams.

“It devalues ​​the FA Cup,” he said. “We understand that we play seven games in January, after seven in December, and the season has been crushed and there is no room for anything else.

“But playing weak teams or youth teams – is that the solution? Not for me. “

On Lascelles and Saint-Maximin, Bruce added: “Jamaal has been training for the best part of the week.

“Allan is now back in the country and waiting for the doctor to give us the green light. They walk towards her, but Allan and Jamaal have suffered more than anyone.

“We got the green light with Jamaal. The most important thing now is how he feels. It’s been a long time.

“Allan lasted about six weeks too and he couldn’t do anything at all. It’s another challenge to put it back on the training ground, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. “

  • Stream eight matches of the FA Cup third round live this weekend on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and app. Learn more here.

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