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Premier League handling of coronavirus a 'disaster' - Neville

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Manchester United legend Gary Neville has said that the Premier League's handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been a "disaster."

A number of Premier League clubs have faced criticism for forcing non-playing staff on temporary leave. Liverpool announced on Saturday that some members of its staff would receive 80% of their salary through the government's job retention scheme, and the club would make up the final 20% of their salary.

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Tottenham, Newcastle, Norwich and Bournemouth have also placed non-playing staff on furlough to varying degrees.

Neville said that league officials have handled the coronavirus pandemic "terribly" and has criticised them for being slow to postpone games in the early stages of the country's outbreak, targetting players over their salaries and slowness to support lower domestic leagues.

"Football has too many stakeholders with different interests," Neville said on Twitter. "A re-alignment for all clubs, fans and the game would be welcome."

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher criticised his former club on Saturday, saying that the Premier League leaders will lose "goodwill and respect" after they placed some staff on temporary leave.

Meanwhile, some British politicians called footballers immoral for not volunteering to take a pay cut. England and Manchester United's all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney has called public pressure for players to do so a "disgrace" and said they are being backed into a corner.

The Premier League season has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic and clubs are in talks with the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) over a 30% player-pay deferral plan, following a video conference on Friday.

Last month, as the outbreak began in the UK, England's top-flight had planned to go ahead with fixtures, even after Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson Odoi had tested positive for the virus. The decision to postpone English football came after the Champions League, Europa League and Serie A announced suspensions.

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