Clubs reveal reluctance to sign unvaccinated players in January

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Unvaccinated players risk being shunned in the January transfer window, with clubs across the country expressing reluctance to sign them.

The Premier League revealed on December 20 that 16% of its players have yet to receive a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while the EFL said one in four players in its three divisions have had no intention of getting the vaccine when he released an update on Dec. 16.

Top managers Jurgen Klopp and Steven Gerrard have expressed reservations about signing unvaccinated players. The Liverpool boss has described these players as “constant threats to all of us”, while his Aston Villa counterpart has said a player’s vaccination status will be taken into account when considering potential new signings.

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has also said a player’s vaccination status could be taken into consideration.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has said a player’s vaccination status will be a factor when considering transfer goals (Nick Potts / PA)

Being double or even triple vaccinated does not prevent a person from being infected with Covid-19, or from transmitting the virus to others. But a key difference for clubs to consider is that unvaccinated players must automatically self-isolate for seven days if they are considered close contact with someone who tested positive, while those in the same situation who are doubly vaccinated can continue to train and play. provided they are negative for seven days after contact.

Premier League players go through lateral flow testing on a daily basis in all cases under more stringent protocols put in place to deal with a surge in cases that have forced a series of postponements, as well as PCR testing at least twice per week.

Similar disruptions have occurred in the EFL, and there is also reluctance at this level to add players who are not fully vaccinated to squads in January.

A manager of a League One club told the PA news agency: “There is no denying that a player’s vaccination status will have an impact on whether a club will want to buy him.

“We have a small team and a backlog of matches. Losing a player at this point in the season is simply a risk we cannot afford to take.

A senior executive from another third tier club said: “We will be reluctant to sign an unvaccinated player. We have discussed this with other clubs and most agree.

Dale Vince, chairman of League 2 leaders Forest Green, said: “We have a handful of unvaccinated players that we want to persuade to get vaccinated and I think we would be very reluctant to take on a new player who doesn’t. is not vaccinated. , or not wanting to be vaccinated.

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince said his club would be reluctant to sign an unvaccinated player due to the
Forest Green chairman Dale Vince has said his club would be reluctant to sign an unvaccinated player due to the “risk” he would pose to the rest of the squad (Bradley Collyer / PA)

“It increases the risk for the whole squad and for the club of disrupted games or weakened squads, and it’s a risk we don’t want to take and don’t see the point in taking.

“It’s not something we would like at all.”

Even those who represent gamers are concerned about the role vaccine status will play in the coming window.

The boss of a sports management agency told PA: “I can imagine that this will become more and more of a problem.

“If you make the decision not to get vaccinated, I think you add a potential barrier to a recruiting opportunity. Could this be a determining factor? I am not sure that would be the case.

PFA chief executive Maheta Molango warned against imposing special measures on unvaccinated players in response to the Omicron variant
PFA chief executive Maheta Molango has warned against imposing special measures on unvaccinated players in response to the Omicron variant (Handout by Khalid Bari Photography / PA)

Maheta Molango, general manager of the players’ union, the Association of Professional Footballers, said his organization was doing its best to ensure that players receive the best possible scientific advice on vaccination.

He also cautioned against “overly simplistic” policies towards unvaccinated players in an interview with PA in December, whether it’s recruiting or requiring them to train and travel separately. with their vaccinated teammates.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said a player’s vaccination status “would not be the first thing” the club considered when reviewing new signings, adding: “I think everyone has the right to make a decision.

“I’m pro (vaccination) obviously and I’m pro with my players, but they always have the right to make a decision, until someone suggests you need to do it, that you need to be vaccinated.”


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