Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has called for greater clarity from the Premier League about the threshold required to postpone a game due to Covid-19 cases, following a spate of fixtures were pushed back recently.
Just five matches are currently scheduled for Gameweek 18, with one of them being the Gunners’ trip to Elland Road to take on Leeds on Saturday evening.
There has been growing calls across the Premier League for competitive action to take a break while the situation quiets down.
Speaking before Arsenal’s game, Arteta hinted that he may be in favour of a short break, though his bigger issue was the lack of clarity of what it takes to have a game cancelled. At the beginning of the season his side were hit with a spate of positive cases, but they were still asked to play.
“We always want to play when we have the right conditions to do so, 100 per cent,” he said.
“But we have been here, on the other side of the table, when we had all the arguments in the world not to play a football match and we ended up playing it. That is what I am saying, we need clarity because [otherwise] the fairness of the competition can be altered and that wouldn’t be fair.”
He added: “Health-wise I hope that we are doing everything we can to protect everybody. Obviously the vaccine protocols are in place, everyone is trying to do their best and I am sure with everything we are doing we can do our best to keep everyone healthy.
“In terms of the competition, two things: we need much more clarity about why those games are not being played and what you need to not play a game, so we are playing in the same league.
“At the end the most important thing is that we are able to maintain within the context the fairness of the competition and for me this is a big thing now.”
Asked directly whether Arteta favoured a break, he stopped short of calling for a suspension.
“I think there are people that know much more than I do to try and find out what the best solution is, to find out if we should carry on playing with the rules that we have at the moment or stop it,” he said.
“I don’t know, it’s not something that I want to give an opinion on because I’m not a scientist and I’m not a specialist and we have to rely on the government and the Premier League to try to make the best decision.”
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