Antonio Conte dismisses ‘stupid’ talk of player welfare as a waste of time

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte claims it is “stupid” to talk about player welfare in the Premier League because nothing changes.

It is a hot topic at the moment as games are getting called off regularly due to player shortages as a result of coronavirus outbreaks, injuries and international duty with the African Cup of Nations in full swing.

The second half of the season will see clubs forced to catch up with a vast number of games, with Burnley having played five less than league leaders Manchester City.

Player welfare and the amount of games teams have to play has long been a bone of contention in this country, so much so that Conte says there is no point addressing it now.

“I think this is not the first season in England that you are speaking about the welfare of the players, to try to protect the players,” he said.

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“My question is – in all these years, what has changed? Nothing. And for this reason I tell you that it is stupid to continue to speak about the welfare of the players because you are losing time.

“It’s not only this season but for many, many years … you are talking every time about the welfare of the players but what are we doing for the welfare of the players? Nothing.

“We implement the games to play, this is the truth. And then I think that it’s stupid to speak about a topic that you don’t want to solve or you can’t solve and for this reason, we lose time.

“We have to move on and to try to be serious and to face other topics.”

Conte expressed surprise at the “strange” decision of the Premier League to call off Sunday’s north London derby with Arsenal despite the Gunners only having one confirmed case of Covid.

All 20 clubs agreed to the criteria needed to postpone games, but Conte said the Premier League have changed the “vision”.

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He added: “Yes, you have to learn to laugh, you have to laugh because they have totally changed the vision.

“We accept and we play here and for this reason we have to accept every decision. But I think that in every moment you have to show respect for all the teams and players, coaches, for people who work in football.”

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