Guardiola urges players to consider striking over busy schedule

Guardiola urges players to consider striking over busy schedule

Pep Guardiola has told Premier League players that they may need to contemplate striking until their concerns about the hectic schedule are addressed.

The English Premier League has frequently been accused of prioritizing revenue from broadcasters over player welfare, with high-profile managers such as Guardiola and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp rarely shying away from condemning the dangers inherent in such a hectic winter schedule.

The tension has been exacerbated further by the recent Covid-19 spike, which has resulted in some teams being awarded match postponements and others being forced to play on, and Guardiola has admitted that a change is necessary.

“The players and managers all together [need to] make a strike or do something because words alone are not going to be enough,” Guardiola said (via The Times).

“It is not going to be solved because for UEFA, FIFA, the Premier League, the broadcasters, business is more important than [player] welfare.

“Here, everyone decides for themselves. We talk about [player] welfare, [maybe] the associations of the players [should] say: ‘OK, we don’t play anymore until we solve that situation.’ Maybe then people will pay attention.”

Guardiola's words were quickly echoed by the Professional Footballers' Association, which backed the idea of a strike if players' safety is continued to be jeopardized.

"I’ve spoken with many senior players on this issue. I can tell you that it isn’t going away," PFA chief executive Maheta Molango told the Daily Mail.

"Players don’t choose to speak out on issues like this without having given it a lot of thought.

"As their union, the PFA enables players to stand together. That unity gives them enormous strength.

"Now it’s up to those who run the game at all levels to begin to take this seriously so it’s an issue that can be addressed constructively with players at the heart of the conversation. That has to happen now. This isn’t something that can be kicked down the road again."