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PFA remind Premier League players to not be COVIDiots and risk the league’s suspension

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LockdownSZN

Corona and Christmas Photo by Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

COVID-19’s on the rise in many parts of the world as the second (or is this the third?) wave has hit even harder than many would’ve predicted at the start of the pandemic. Lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, quarantines are the orders of the day for many once again.

One major difference as far as our narrow purview’s concerned is that the Premier League (and other “elite sports”) have been allowed to continue — for now! — even as teams are dealing with more outbreaks at training grounds than ever before and the league’s returning record numbers of positive cases. Aston Villa are just the latest club to go into (partial) lockdown after a “large number” of cases in the first-team, which is threatening their FA Cup match against Liverpool this weekend as well. (Several other FA Cup matches have already been postponed, in fact.)

As a more contagious strain of the novel coronavirus makes its rounds, it’s therefore more important than ever for players to adhere to protocol and maintain the integrity of the pseudo-bubble. The Premier League have not gone into an NBA-style bubble, trusting the players to isolate and socially distance as much as possible outside of the training ground and the matches themselves, but as in the general population, people have let their guard down over the holidays.

The situation appears to be at or nearing a tipping point, even, which has promoted the PFA to remind its members of their responsibilities, both to the game and to the fans.

Basically, be smart, do you part.

Following the announcement of a third national lockdown, the PFA would like to reinforce the message that players must follow the current COVID-19 rules and club protocols as a matter of vital importance.

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. 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.

Football has provided temporary relief for many fans during the lockdown. PFA members, alongside millions of people, have worked hard and played a positive role throughout the pandemic.

Your support has been a major factor in getting football up and running again, and we commend your collective efforts so far. We are now entering another critical stage of the pandemic. Although prospects are brighter due to the vaccine’s imminent rollout, players must continue to take the lead and act responsibly and professionally.

Between now and the end of the season, we ask that you continue to take personal responsibility and follow the lockdown rules, without exception.

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that players have a unique position to inspire and influence society positively. Your compliance with the national restrictions sets the right example to millions of fans and young people. Following the rules is also the best way to protect your loved ones, your colleagues and their families from harm.

-PFA statement