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'Inconceivable that football will return in next three to four months' - Man Utd legend Neville predicts coronavirus crisis will drag on

10:56 AM EDT 3/25/20
Gary Neville 2020
An ex-Old Trafford favourite cannot see the 2019-20 campaign resuming anytime soon because there are not enough resources to go around

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has expressed his belief that it is "inconceivable" for the Premier League to return on April 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak which has forced millions of people to self-isolate around the world.

The Covid-19 crisis has seen all European football leagues shut up shop, in accordance with the measures which have been put in place by government officials to contain the spread of the illness.

People have been instructed to stay in their homes and practise social distancing as the number of deaths continues to rise, with Europe and the United States now reporting 85% of all new coronavirus cases.

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared a state of emergency and given police the power to fine and imprison anyone failing to adhere to rules regarding public gatherings and shopping for non-essential goods.

English football is expected to be on hiatus for at least another month, but there has been some suggestion this season's remaining fixtures could be played behind closed doors heading into the summer.

However, Neville doesn't think that football will resume for at least another 12 weeks, given the fact resources are being stretched to the limit in order to provide care for those most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think at this moment in time it's inconceivable that football will return for the next three to four months because of the fact that we've just been put essentially on a lockdown," the former United defender told CNN.

"Football will not return because all the resources that are required to run a football stadium, which requires the police and the ambulance services, will not be available in the next few months.

"They'll obviously be in hospitals and in the care homes looking after the sick and people who need it the most."

Neville's old club are currently among those vying for Champions League qualification, while Liverpool are on the verge of winning a first top-flight crown in 30 years.

The battle to avoid relegation is also very much up in the air, with clubs across the country facing an anxious wait for a final decision on whether or not the current campaign will be concluded.

"Health comes first -- of the fans, the players, the staff, the people who enter the stadiums," Neville added.

"The most important thing is that we are about to embark on a huge crisis for our country."

The 45-year-old is doing his bit to contribute to an ongoing national effort to combat coronavirus, having freed up beds for health workers at two of the hotels he co-owns with former United team-mate Ryan Giggs.

A number of high profile footballers and coaches have also made sizeable donations to the cause, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pep Guardiola.