Antonio Conte calls the latest meeting of Premier League clubs a WASTE of time and ‘like talking to a wall’… with the Tottenham boss convinced ‘everything was decided’ beforehand about playing through Covid crisis
- Premier League officials met with managers and players from top-flight clubs
- Tottenham boss Antonio Conte felt the whole meeting was a waste of time
- Conte is convinced that ‘everything was decided’ before the meeting had begun
- Players and managers have complained at being forced to play too many games
- Covid infections, fuelled by the Omicron variant, are leaving squads threadbare
Antonio Conte fumed that the Premier League’s latest meeting of its 20 clubs was a waste of time and it was akin to talking to a wall.
It was decided that the show would go on and there would be no Christmas circuit-breaker amid a rising number of Covid cases causing multiple postponements.
Conte, who has only just seen his Spurs side return to action following a mass outbreak, felt decisions had been made prior to the meeting and it was not worth it.
‘When you have a wall in front of you, you can say or ask what you want,’ Conte said on Friday. ‘But every decision was [already] taken.
‘We (managers) tried to speak. Some coaches tried to speak to ask about solutions but I think everything was decided and yesterday was a wall. For this reason also, I prefer not to go into the discussion or conversation.’
Antonio Conte labelled the latest Premier League meeting of all 20 clubs as a waste of time
The Tottenham boss felt decisions had already been made to keep games on rather than take a circuit-breaker for players amid a rising number of Covid outbreaks throughout the league
This week teams have been told that if they have 13 fit players and a goalkeeper their games will go ahead – but their have been a number of cancellations in recent weeks.
This weekend, Leeds’ game against Liverpool is off, as is Watford’s clash with West Ham on Boxing Day.
Everton’s trip to Burnley is going ahead in the face of five positive Covid cases and six injuries in the squad leaving Rafa Benitez down to the bare bones.
The two latest postponements mean there have been 12 top-flight games called off because of an increase in coronavirus cases.
Premier League players and managers have told top-flight officials that they feel footballers are being run into the ground.
Players and managers met top-flight officials on two separate Zoom calls on Thursday to discuss the ongoing Covid crisis that has wreaked havoc to the fixture schedule.
Tottenham had to close their training ground earlier this month following a Covid outbreak
Everton boss Rafa Benitez is understood to have asked for a break until the New Year in the meeting – although his request was met with suspicion due to Everton’s growing injury crisis
Footballers used the meeting to forcefully inform Premier League officials of their major concerns over player welfare – particularly after the decision not to call a festive ‘circuit-breaker’ amid the worrying Covid surge that has gripped English football.
Managers also used the opportunity to press the issue of player welfare. Everton boss Rafa Benitez is understood to have spoken in favour of a break in the season until the New Year.
The issue of re-introducing the five-substitute rule was also raised in the managers meeting.
Tottenham’s outbreak was the first major one in the league earlier this month when eight players and five staff members tested positive for Covid, forcing multiple postponements and their training ground to close.
Tottenham defender Sergio Reguilon gave a thumbs up as he was given the booster vaccine
Despite returning to action with a draw in the league against Liverpool and a Carabao Cup quarter-final win over West Ham, Conte still believes affected players are feeling the effects.
‘Many players that played had Covid,’ Conte said after the Carabao Cup win, in which he made five substitutions.
‘At one point of the game the intensity dropped and for this reason I made the substitutions.
‘This period will be very tough for us. With an important problem like Covid, I have to manage. In this situation I’m giving the chance to my players to show me they deserve to play for Tottenham and stay here. This is one positive aspect.’
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