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Covid-19: Stop hugging, Premier League players told

Sheffield United players celebrate a goal against Newcastle United. (AP)
Sheffield United players celebrate a goal against Newcastle United. (AP)

London - Outbreaks at Premier League teams have heightened concerns about the avoidable and very visible close contact between players



By AP

Published: Thu 14 Jan 2021, 7:55 PM

The British government is increasingly troubled by soccer players hugging and kissing in celebrations, risking coronavirus infections and the sport’s ability to be allowed to continue during the latest lockdown.

Outbreaks at Premier League teams, forcing the postponement of matches, have heightened concerns about the avoidable and very visible close contact between players.

“Everyone in the country has had to change the way they interact with people and ways of working,” Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston tweeted on Wednesday.

“Footballers are no exception. Covid secure guidelines exist for football. Footballers must follow them and football authorities enforce them — strictly.”

Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Premier League has warned clubs that punishments will be handed out for flouting the rules.

Huddleston linked on Twitter to a news story about the league’s letter to clubs which specified players should avoid handshakes, high-fives and hugs and that they were “fortunate to be able to continue to play. “

That warning was not adhered to when players from Sheffield United and Manchester United embraced while celebrating scoring in their victories on Tuesday.

And nothing really changed on Wednesday — despite the government’s renewed pleas earlier in the day.


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