Ogbonna slams Premier League response to coronavirus: It’s like they were waiting for someone to die

The Italy international defender has slammed the response of authorities in the UK in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak

West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna has been highly critical of the manner in which the coronavirus crisis has been handled in England.

Having watched tragic events unfold in his homeland of Italy, where there have been over 17,000 cases of the virus, the 31-year-old was shocked about how sluggish the response was to the crisis from authorities.

Football was suspended as of Friday, with the Premier League not due to resume until the first weekend of April at the earliest.

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Ogbonna, however, says that the reaction took much too long.

“I am happy and relieved that everything has now been suspended, including the minor leagues. It was almost as if they wanted to ignore such a serious problem,” he told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

“It’s not just football, but this problem is ingrained in the English mentality. They still don’t realise the danger of a virus that can be passed on in seconds if you don’t behave in the right way.”

Ogbonna was particularly angered at the decision to allow last Saturday’s fixture against Arsenal to go ahead.

“It’s completely unacceptable that the Arsenal game against us was allowed to go ahead. They had just played against Olympiacos, whose president tested positive for coronavirus,” he said.

“It’s almost as if they were waiting for someone to die before taking action.”

He added: “I haven’t been tested or checked over in any way. That is another testament to an attitude that is at the very least superficial.”

Italy’s minister of sport Vincenzo Spadafora admitted on Friday that he regrets Serie A was allowed to go on for so long before all matches were postponed last weekend.

“Football is a world in itself: there was a time when the Lega Serie A didn’t want to take responsibility as it should have done,” he told Radio 1 .

“We did it as a government to protect interests. Now there is no longer any controversy because some of the players have the virus.

“We would have preferred to have stopped the league sooner, but better late than never.

“Many teams today are giving donations for the emergency and we are happy, they are gestures of solidarity that we appreciate.

“Now we can stop with the controversy, because the world of sport must lead by example.”

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