Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has said that the recent ruling enforced by the Premier League which means clubs must play a fixture if they have as few as 14 available squad members is ‘out of order on the players.’
Executives from all 20 Premier League sides met at the beginning of the week to discuss a possible ‘circuit breaker’ over the Christmas period to halt the spread of the Omicron variant and although there were some for the proposal - most notably Liverpool and Arsenal - the vast majority voted in favour of continuing the season with no stoppages.
However, with the continuation comes a new ruling. A strict ‘no subjective factors’ ruling that has been put in place to limit the number of postponements to as small of a number as possible.
The Premier League have stated that as long as a club can field 14 players (13 outfielders and one goalkeeper) a game must go ahead and that number includes under-21s that have a fair amount of first team experience.
And the Villa boss isn’t impressed with the ruling, claiming the Christmas calendar is tough enough with a fully fit squad let a lone the possibility of a threadbare one.
“Yes I do,” Gerrard said, when asked if he believed 14 was too small of a number to play.
“Certainly when you’re going into two fixtures on the 26th and 28th of December.
“I don’t think those fixtures are right anyway with full squads, so to be asked to play them two fixtures if you’ve got 13 or 14 available is out of order on the players in my opinion.
“But I certainly understand (why) the Premier League want them to continue. Obviously with a World Cup on the horizon and a lot of teams in England doing well in Europe it would be nigh-on impossible to get all the fixtures put in if there’s more cancellations moving forward so I certainly respect and understand the decision to carry on.
“As long as I live and breathe I’ll never get my head around footballers asked to play within that short space of time - I’ve experienced it as a player and it’s not good as a player I can guarantee you that.”
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