With the onset of winter, it looks like Swine Flu is now spreading like wildfire. The Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce lost Christopher Samba and David Dunn on Saturday to the Flu before they played Chelsea this weekend, and he believes that clubs should have the right to call off games if their squad is adversely affected.
Whether the 5-0 scoreline would have been reduced if they had played is a matter of conjecture, but Allardyce has raged against the Premier League, and accused them of ruling against the postponement of games because of an outbreak.
He said: “I would not have gone to the extent I have but reading in the paper the Premier League said we made no request to get the game called off. That’s just sitting on the fence – normal splinters up the backside as usual. They know that we went through the right procedures and that we did not call it off because we couldn’t. There was no point in trying because back in February or March they told us we had to get a team out there no matter what.
“It is their responsibility to consider how dangerous it might be to allow this to spread throughout football so they have shirked responsibility – not us. I don’t think they have put much thought into it at all.”
He also thought it was highly likely that the virus could have spread to the Chelsea squad through the close proximity of the players on the pitch, but it is unlikely there would be a great risk. The real danger comes when a player continues playing but is severely weakened by the virus.
But Allardyce thinks that the danger of infection should be considered. Allardyce said: “There is no doubt about that. When you look at the medical side of it, it is one of the most infectious viruses we have had. You don’t know where it has come from but they are not going to stop it, are they?”
A Premier League spokesman said: “As ever, when it comes to health matters the Premier League will be guided by the relevant statutory authorities. If a club postpones any of their matches they would have to prove that they were unable to fulfil their fixture. The Premier League does not anticipate, at this stage, any circumstances under which a match could be justifiably postponed.”
So, in fact, Allardyce is correct in saying that he couldn’t call the game off, but is he right to be worried about the infection spreading to other teams?
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