'It Was a Wall': Premier League Managers Lament Meeting Over COVID-19 Concerns
22:30 GMT 24.12.2021 (Updated: 07:56 GMT 25.12.2021)
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte called a Thursday meeting between Premier League managers with league officials over the concerns of fixture congestion a "waste of time".
The special meeting was held virtually and each of the Premier League's 20 managers was in attendance. The league and its managers were brought together to discuss player welfare as mounting coronavirus cases in squads have led to game postponements.
According to sources, managers asked for solutions to help ease the burden on their players, such as bringing back five substitutions as the league featured over the course of the previous season.
Antonio Conte, candidly, did not feel that managers were being heard by the league.
"Some coaches tried to speak to ask about a solution but I think everything was decided", he said of the meeting during a recent news conference. "Yesterday, it was a wall".
When asked if the meeting was a waste of time, Conte agreed: "I think so. Because as I said before, when you have a wall in front of you, you can speak or ask what you want. But every decision was taken".
Conte is not the only manager to have voiced his frustration with the Premier League. On Thursday, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola suggested that players and coaches could band together in a strike.
"Should the players and the managers be all together and make a strike, or something, because just through words it's not going to be solved?", said Guardiola.
He elaborated that a strike is not imminent, but added, "[there are] more games and more games and less holidays. It's a problem".
On Thursday, the Premier League met with team captains and senior players to discuss their concerns over the increasing fixture congestion.
Since 12 December, there have been 12 matches postponed due to COVID outbreaks, with a possibility for more as the Omicron variant runs rampant through England.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put players under extreme conditions. The 2020-21 season was tightly packed, and many top players in the Premier League went on to play in the European Cup and Copa America in the summer before returning to regular-season club play.
With the 2022 Qatar World Cup set for November and December of next year, players have been subjected to the longest and most compressed schedule in modern history.