Newcastle manager Steve Bruce believes that it is “morally wrong” for football to go ahead during the latest wave of the coronavirus.
Infections are hitting record high numbers across the UK, while in England and Wales, hospital capacity is being stretched due to the volume of patients being admitted.
Bruce has seen the problems that the virus can cause, with several first-team squad members hit by the bug earlier this season. Having witnessed the impact, he has called for a suspension of the game in a bid to safeguard the future of players and their families.
“I see other clubs struggling with it now and of course there's Premier League protocols in place but once you leave the training ground you are in the outside world,” he told the media on Friday.
“The speed in which it ripped through us is something all football clubs will be looking at because it is difficult to contain and stop.
“We've seen first hand how it affects people - we've had two players who were very, very sick and one or two members of staff, one in particular nearly hospitalised.
“And no one envisaged this new wave was going to be as powerful as it is.
“Financially it's right to play on, but for me - morally it's wrong. I understand people want to play a game of football but we are just as vulnerable as everyone else.”
Bruce cited the case of star attacker Allan Saint-Maximin, in particular.
“Once it left him it has caused big problems,” he said. “Allan has been out for six weeks or whatever so that's going to take time. I'm no doctor but there's so many symptoms and problems afterwards so it's been difficult.”
Bruce believes that clubs are taking every precaution they reasonably can in the battle against the virus, but is unsure that it will be enough.
“Lets be fair, when we are in football we are socialising,” Bruce said. “We may be taking all the protocols the right way and doing everything possible but how do you stop Manchester City from celebrating the way they did the other night?
“They were all in a huddle, celebrating, sweating, exhaling badly. If you stop that, you stop the whole enjoyment of sport.
“All of us are suffering but we are the lucky ones providing an entertainment that people can tune in to and watch.
“There will come a stage though where we will have to make a decision - let's hope there isn't further outbreaks in the next few weeks.”