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Coronavirus: Ancelotti questions UK's COVID-19 response – 'football counts for zero'

  • The Premier League has postponed all games and Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti says "it is about time" as the coronavirus death toll rises.
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Modified 14 Mar 2020, 23:32 IST
Carlo Ancelotti - cropped
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has questioned the United Kingdom's response to the coronavirus crisis and insisted "football counts for zero" at this point.

The Premier League performed a U-turn on Friday by announcing all games will be suspended until April 3 in wake of a number of high-profile incidents.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is among those to have contracted COVID-19 and Everton's squad and staff were told to self-isolate after one of their players showed symptoms consistent with the virus.

Ancelotti feels the time is right to postpone football at all levels and is unsure when exactly his side will reconvene to complete their remaining fixtures.

"We're not really self-isolating at all, but some prevention measures did come in after a player had a fever, but his temperature has dropped now and that’s the most important thing," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The Premier League did stop eventually, and it's about time. It was the right decision faced with the scenario. We couldn't continue. Health is the most important thing for everyone: teams, fans, media, everyone who works in football.

"In theory, we ought to get back to work on March 22, but if the situation should worsen, how can we even think of that? If the coronavirus is still spreading rapidly, football cannot resume.

"Football counts for zero right now and it almost irritates me to be talking about it, faced with the tragedy that is unfolding in front of our eyes. This is a pandemic, a situation none of us had experienced before now."

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There have been more than 21,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy, with close to 1,500 deaths - second only to China - while 21 people have died in the UK.

And the Italian coach was unconvinced by comments from Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday when suggesting life should continue as normal.

"The number of deaths in Italy is terrible. In one day, another 250 people died. The priority is to concentrate on this fight, the rest doesn't matter," Ancelotti said.

"Italy were forced to understand that it was time to stop being superficial, they had to respect the orders and stay home, to respect themselves and others during this war.

"I watched Boris Johnson's speech on TV and it seems to be someone here hasn't realised the gravity of the situation. Life continues as normal, to a certain degree."

Published 14 Mar 2020, 23:32 IST
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