January 8 – The head of the union representing English professional players says its members are potentially putting others at risk in the way they celebrate goals and has urged them to act sensibly amid a spike in Covid-19 cases that has led to a third nationwide lockdown.
Four Premier League games and over 50 in the English Football League (EFL) have been postponed this season with some FA Cup matches this weekend also in doubt or called off even though elite sport is still allowed.
As a result, Professional Footballers Association (PFA) chief executive Gordon Taylor has told the players to “keep to the protocols” and adopt a sensible approach.
“We’ve sent a message to all our members saying, ‘you have done a great job, you’ve kept the game going and you deserve a lot of credit, but it’s important you keep to the protocols’,” Taylor told The Times.
“Always abide by what you’re being told by doctors and medical staff with regard to the protocols about keeping your distance and the hygiene that’s required.
“I understand with the celebration of a goal it’s difficult to just put the ball in the back of the net and act as though nothing has happened.
“It’s that adrenaline rush… that’s what the game is all about, but that’s part and parcel of the process, so they’ll be reminded.”
Several top-flight players also breached Covid-19 guidelines by over Christmas and New Year and in a statement the PFA warned its members about the dangers of breaking the rules.
“In a close-knit football environment, the ramifications of any rule breaches are potentially hugely damaging for fellow players, clubs and the game as a whole,” the PFA said.
“It is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved that the vast majority of matches have gone ahead as scheduled and the risks to players, staff and their families have been well managed and kept to a minimum.”
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