Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admits it feels ‘morally strange’ for football to continue through pandemic

Simon Collings
·2-min read
 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admits it feels morally strange to continue playing elite level football - but he hopes it can give the nation a boost amid the accelerating pandemic.

Elite sport is currently allowed to continue in the UK, despite nationwide lockdown restrictions to fight the spread of Covid-19, but Government figures are concerned by football’s failure to follow social distancing rules in recent weeks.

Premier League stars have broken lockdown rules, while in FA Cup matches this weekend players ignored guidelines by hugging each during goal celebrations and the Chorley team who beat Derby sung in a packed dressing room.

Arteta said: “Morally, with the situation we have in the county, with the situation we have worldwide, to keep doing what we are doing is a little bit of a strange feeling.

“We know as well what we can bring to society if we are able to do it in a safe way, then there are a lot of positives to take.

“It is just that balance that when does it start to get damaging and worrying and start to expose people? And when we can do it we are still safe and we can, as I said, add something positive to this difficult context.

“To control the emotions when you’re going 200mph in the game is very difficult. We’re asking our players in corners for example to be man-marking people, to be pushing people around and then we cannot say hello to anybody. It gets a little bit controversial and difficult to understand.”

Arsenal are back in action on Thursday when they play Crystal Palace, but they will be without Gabriel Martinelli. The Brazilian rolled his ankle in the warm-up of Saturday’s win over Newcastle and had to be taken out of the line-up. He was undergoing a scan today.

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