The UK may have seen a considerable relaxation in Coronavirus restrictions, but the virus is still causing havoc and major sports are seeing the effects.
It has now been reported that Premier League players will be made to have a double vaccination from the virus under a new Government plan to ensure sport continues if there is a winter lockdown. This comes following the Government’s announcement earlier in the week that stated supporters would require a Covid pass showing their vaccination status to attend matches from 1 October.
Since the restart of football in 2020, all players and staff have had to be tested twice a week and there has been Covid-secure red zones at stadiums and training grounds which have ensured the continuance of Premier League matches for over a year.
The new guidance reveals that a negative test will no longer be enough for the athletes. It is now a race against time for clubs to guarantee that all their players receive two jabs within the highlighted eight-week timeframe. The Premier League are in favour of Covid passes as they believe the measure could help stadiums reach full capacity.
It does spark controversy, like with the general consensus with the vaccines. It is believed there are youngsters within Premier League clubs who are hesitant to get jabbed. According to the Daily Mail, only two Premier League clubs have so far managed to have all their staff vaccinated.
In recent days we have seen the continuing havoc the virus is causing across sport. Yesterday, Team GB’s medal hope Amber Hill was forced to withdraw from the women’s skeet at the Tokyo Olympics after contracting Covid-19. With a lot of concern about the virus situation in Japan it is very likely that more athletes will be forced to retire from the Games because of the virus.
Rugby league has suffered a big hit with the virus. Ahead of this year’s Rugby League World Cup, two of the strongest sides, Australia and New Zealand, decided to pull out of the tournament due to the ongoing threat of Coronavirus. They both pulled out because of “player welfare and safety concerns”.
The finalists of last Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup final, St Helens and Castleford Tigers, have both had their weekend fixtures postponed due to a number of players of both sides having to isolate either with the virus or as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. Elsewhere, a positive test in the Leigh or Warrington squad has resulted in their Thursday game being pushed back as it meant nine players were unavailable.
This season’s Super League table will again be decided by win points percentage to allow for the possibility of not all fixtures being fulfilled.
With the apparent growing problem of Covid-19 in professional sport, the idea of ensuring that all players and match-day staff being double jabbed across all sports, not just in the Premier League, seems like the safest and most sensible protocol moving forward.
It is imperative that the sports schedule is not heavily affected again like at the beginning of the pandemic.