‘If I was in charge we’d have stopped a week ago’ - EFL criticised for late reaction to coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 12:43 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:43 17 March 2020

The EFL have issued a statement regarding coronavirus

The EFL have issued a statement regarding coronavirus

PA Archive/PA Images

Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt has hit out at the football authorities for their delaying in suspending play due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Football was halted on Friday until at least April 4 in a bid to help stop the spread of the disease, with the English game the last of Europe’s leading countries to suspend play.

And Holt believes the decision was made too late.

“If I was in charge of the EFL we’d have stopped a week ago,” he said during an interview with The Football League Paper.

“And I’d already be looking at the damage to clubs and working out how to finance it.

“Why have we spent the week talking about whether games get played or not? Why weren’t we talking about the situation in Italy, where nearly 1,000 people have died for no other reason than poor management?

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“The Italian government – people who’ve lived through it – were telling us to act. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic. Yet we were talking about whether a game of football should be played.

“It’s absolutely crazy. The EFL, the Premier League, UEFA. All they were interested in was getting games on.

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“All those Atletico Madrid fans travelling to Liverpool from Spain (for a Champions League game last week), a country where 36 people had died. What are people thinking?

“It’s alright saying we’re just following government advice, but what if the advice is wrong? It was in Italy.

“For what it’s worth I think we need to shove any concerns about football aside and focus squarely on fighting this virus. On saving people. Because whoever said football is more important than life and death is wrong.”

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