Premier League stars expect a reduction in crowd sizes – NOT a return to behind closed doors games – if Omicron Covid strain strengthens its grip, with players resigned to the show going on despite welfare concerns
- Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has been among the Premier League players demanding more consideration is given to player welfare
- It comes as the league plays on for now despite the spread of Omicron strain
- Managers and players are unhappy they have been ordered to keep going
- But there’s a growing sense it will be business as usual but with reduced crowds
Players are expecting the Premier League to reduce crowd sizes, rather than order a break in the Christmas programme or put games behind closed doors.
Many managers and players are unhappy that the Premier League has ordered clubs to play on and dip into under-21 ranks should first choice stars be struck down by Covid.
But despite Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson being among those to demand more consideration be given to player welfare, Sportsmail understands players have a growing sense that it will be business as usual for the next two weeks – even if the Omicron variant continues to infect dozens more players in the game.
Premier League players are resigned to fixtures continuing as usual despite fears over player welfare amid the rapid spread of the Omicron Covid strain
A supporter dressed as Father Christmas has his Covid-19 pass checked at the match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool last weekend
One source said: ‘The players and managers want one thing – fewer games – and the club executives want something entirely different.
‘After the last upheaval of the Premier League lockdown, the very least clubs will agree is to reduce attendances and that’s where it might well be going.
‘There is no appetite to stop games or go behind closed doors.’
Jordan Henderson is concerned that player welfare is not being taken seriously enough
Premier League matches have seen full crowds return this season but some players believe the numbers admitted to stadiums could be reduced to prevent Covid spread
Another source said: ‘The people running the clubs don’t want to stop this because they don’t know how they will start it up again. They hate that idea.’
A number of senior players would much prefer thinning out the number of fixtures, rather than introducing mandatory cuts to crowd capacities, in order to permit social distancing and prevent the variant spreading through stadiums.
‘Playing in half empty stadiums would not be something players would want,’ said one of the sources.