There is a new potentially disruptive row between Premier League clubs and the Government building up ahead of the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.
Boris is saying that anyone going to a red list country must isolate on their return, with the isolation being reduced by half (to 5 days) if the players have been double jabbed.
Considering the amount of people in the UK that are already at that stage, I am surprised to hear that many footballers are still against the idea. In fact the Telegraph reported that a THIRD of EFL players had no intention of getting jabbed.
On the Premier League, a SkySports report said last week: Newspaper reports on Friday suggest only around 35 per cent of players in the top division have received the jab, but Premier League insiders have told Sky Sports News the numbers are actually much higher than that.
Most Premier League players have had at least the first Covid vaccination, though take-up levels for the second jab have been described as “disappointing”.
Following Wednesday’s meeting of Premier League executives in central London, the clubs have now agreed to discuss the matter afresh with their own players, and encourage them to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.
Now the problem the EPL have is that the new red-list rules will make it clear which players are jabbed and which are not, which they are trying to keep secret for some reason.
Mikel Arteta lost Granit Xhaka to Covid recently, and it was revealed that the Swiss captain was unvaccinated, but the Arsenal boss has made it clear that he wants all footballers to be persuaded to get double protected, as he said yesterday: “We have tried it in various ways, at the end the decision is by the player because they are not forced to do it. Obviously it will be extremely helpful for the clubs if the players can do that because it wouldn’t restrict their mobility and wouldn’t restrict their ability to compete with the clubs, who are responsible for paying them and looking after them, and play the majority of the games in the season with them.”
The Government is trying hard to get the message across to footballers as well. Their deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam has recorded a video that was sent to all top clubs, saying that he has seen a number of professional footballers hospitalised as a result of the virus, and that being double-vaccinated cuts your chances of serious illness or death by up to 95 per cent.
The clubs are in a sticky situation, as they can’t say “Get jabbed or get sacked” like the government has done to care workers, but when you consider the amount of travelling most players have to do, surely they need to keep themselves and the people they come into contact with as safe as possible as well?
And also, why should they expect to be exempt from government isolation rules if they refuse to get jabbed.
It’s a very sticky situation as far as I’m concerned……