Coronavirus is once again wrecking football as “patience wears thin” with continuous breaches of protocols and rules by players and fans.
Images of players in celebration inside tightly packed dressing rooms caused an unwelcome feature of FA Cup third-round weekend. Similarly, crowds of fans gathering outside cup ties drew criticism and caught the attention of the government ministers.
With no hesitation, players from all levels of the game apologizing for several coronavirus rule breaches is coming under increasing scrutiny as well.
In the Premier League, referees speak to coaches and captains before matches. This is to remind them to observe social distancing guidelines, including around situations like goal celebrations and handshakes.
New EFL chief executive Trevor Birch wrote to all clubs on Monday, warning them “now is not the time for complacency” over Covid protocols. He also added, “we will come under extreme governmental pressure if we continue to flout the rules and guidance in place”.
“it is more important than ever that all club staff and players vigilantly follow the process to avoid a suspension and the implications. Particularly financial, associated with such a drastic course of action”.
What football have to say
Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta said the rules around celebrations, in particular, could be “difficult to understand”.
“To control emotions when you are playing at 200mph is very difficult. We are asking our players at corners, for example, to be man-marking people, pushing people around and not fist-bump anyone”.
Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola voiced a similar concern. He said, “When one guy scores a goal, I don’t know if they can be controlled and not celebrate it. The joy to celebrate it. I don’t know if a player is going to think ‘I cannot hug my mate for two, three seconds’.
Also, Nuno Espirito, Wolves manager, described the increase of cases as “scary”.
He said, “What I’m afraid of is the decision to stop football. As we know, now will not be the same. This is my biggest fear because the schedule will go crazy”.
Sheffield’s coach, Chris Wilder added, “everyone knows the situation and if it gets suspended I don’t think it’d be a surprise”.
“We’ll just go with what the government and the Premier League have to say. If it’s the case to carry on, we’ll carry on. But I don’t think I’m being controversial if I say I don’t think anyone would be surprised if we don’t carry on with the way it’s sweeping through the country”.