Football: Newcastle manager Steve Bruce says 'morally wrong' to keep playing amid pandemic

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce believes it is "morally wrong" for English football to continue as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the country and disrupt the fixtures list.

Shrewsbury's third-round FA Cup tie with Southampton was postponed after a significant number of cases reported within their club, while several other fixtures are in jeopardy.

Newcastle were the first Premier League side to be hit by a coronavirus outbreak earlier this season, leading to their training ground being shut down for 10 days.

"Certainly at our club, when you are getting more and more cases every few hours, it is scary how it ripped through lots and lots of people," Bruce told a news conference.

"That is something a lot of football clubs are looking at now. Financially it's right to play on, but for me - morally it's wrong. I understand people want to play a game of football but we are just as vulnerable as everyone else."

COVID-19 outbreaks have led to four Premier League matches being postponed and more than 50 games in the lower divisions of the Football League being called off this season.

The Professional Footballers' Association has urged players to be sensible when celebrating goals to avoid spreading the virus.

But Bruce, whose team face Arsenal in the FA Cup on Saturday, said it was easier said than done and will not condemn any player for enjoying the game.

"Even though we are doing everything possible to stick to the protocols, how do you stop Manchester City celebrating together because they have reached another (League) Cup final like they did the other night?" he says.

"We want to see that. If you stop that, you are stopping the whole enjoyment of sport." 

With the fixture list pilling up, Tottenham manager is just hoping the Premier League make a decision with the players welfare in mind. 

Jose Mourinho called on the Premier League to avoid further postponements over COVID-19 concerns, with Tottenham Hotspur's game at Villa Park next week in doubt after 10 Aston Villa first-team players tested positive.

Mourinho's side have already had one league game postponed, against Fulham after a rise in coronavirus cases among Scott Parker's squad, and the reverse fixture with their London rivals in April will be moved after Spurs reached the League Cup final.

"It's the moment for the Premier League to show leadership, to make decisions," Mourinho said before Sunday's FA Cup third round trip to eighth-tier Marine. "A club like us is trying everything every day to be ready to play, to follow the rules we have in our hands."

"If we don't play against Aston Villa, that will be three matches postponed, and that will be impossible.

"After the season we have the Euros (due to begin on June 11), and of course the Euros are not going to be moved." 

Mourinho said his entire squad has tested negative in the latest round of checks, despite Brentford boss Thomas Frank testing positive after Spurs' League Cup semi-final win over the Championship side.