Football

Players told to stop hugging and kissing as Covid-19 cases rise in UK

England's deputy chief medical officer (DCMO) has urged footballers to behave responsibly and stop celebrating in close proximity to each other, citing the dangerous situation in the country with regard to Covid-19.

The issue of players flouting social distancing rules has been in the news this week after videos emerged of teams celebrating in dressing rooms following last weekend's FA Cup third-round matches.

The Professional Footballers' Association and English Premier League have written to clubs and players, asking them to follow social distancing guidelines as Britain continues to battle a fast-spreading new strain of the coronavirus.

"We are in a very dangerous place now," DCMO Jonathan Van-Tam told LBC Radio in response to a question on whether players should be hugging and kissing each other when they score a goal.

"Every close human contact that is avoidable should be avoided because one in three of us will get the infection and have no symptoms at all - so on the football point, on the sporting point, I do agree with you."

The topic has raised a debate among managers. Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder also weighed in on the subject after his team celebrated their first league win of the season - a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United yesterday morning (Singapore time) - by hugging each other.

"We've talked before about the country looking at us, but it is an emotional game on the pitch and on the touchline," Wilder said. "It's unnatural and unreal (not to celebrate). How can they not?" - REUTERS

Football