Rooney: Government, Premier League treated players like guinea pigs over the coronavirus

Wayne Rooney has criticised the government, the Premier League and Football Association for treating footballers like "guinea pigs" over the coronavirus outbreak.

The league planned to go ahead with fixtures before suspending the competition until April 3 after Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus, while Leicester City said players had shown symptoms.

The English Football League also suspended the Championship, League 1 and League 2 but Rooney said he was disappointed the decision took so long.

"Thankfully football made the right call in the end," he wrote in the Sunday Times. "We had to put the season on hold.

"But why did we wait until Friday? Why did it take Mikel Arteta to get ill for the game in England to do the right thing? For players, staff and their families it has been a worrying week -- one in which you felt a lack of leadership from the government and from the FA and Premier League.

"It felt typical of the way things are done in football. That Leicester aren't a big enough team to cause any chaos, it's fine, we carry on. Then as soon as one of the bigger clubs -- Arsenal -- are affected, we finally make a decision. It felt like we were trying to limp along, keep football going, instead of getting everyone prepared for what's going to come.

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"After the emergency meeting, at last the right decision was made -- until then it almost felt like footballers in England were being treated like guinea pigs. The rest of sport -- tennis, Formula One, rugby, golf, football in other countries -- was closing down and we were being told to carry on. I think a lot of footballers were wondering, 'Is it something to do with money being involved in this?'"

The decision to postpone English football came after the Champions League, Europa League and Serie A announced suspensions.

Sources have told ESPN that UEFA is considering cancelling Euro 2020 this summer due to the outbreak and Rooney said footballers would be in agreement with the decision.

"From a players' point of view, if the season has to finish in June, finish in June -- the Euros will be cancelled, 100%," he added.

"We're happy to play until September if the season extends to then, if that's how it has to be. That's our job. As long as we know we're safe to play and it's a safe environment for spectators, we'll play.

"The next World Cup is in November and December 2022, so you could actually use this situation as an opportunity and say we're going to finish the 2019-20 season later this year, then prepare for 2022 by having the next two seasons starting in winter. There are different things the game can look at."