Premier League and EFL clubs face PFA battle over plans to put vaccine clauses in player contracts after Government demands footballers and staff be jabbed by October – despite reluctance among some to have it
- The Government want all players and staff jabbed by October, as per Sportsmail
- Clubs are considering making jabs against Covid a condition of employment
- There is a reluctance among players in teens and early 20s to get jabbed
- The PFA are in favour of the vaccinations but have a difficult balance to strike
Premier League and EFL clubs face a potential battle with the PFA over proposals to insert vaccination clauses into player contracts.
Sportsmail has learned that several clubs are considering making vaccination against Covid-19 a condition of employment amid concerns that take-up of the jab has been low among players.
As Sportsmail revealed earlier this week, the Government want all players and back-room staff to be fully vaccinated by October, in order to provide consistency with the public and to help protect live sport against future outbreaks, although it is unclear how this will be enforced.
Premier League players could have vaccination clauses put into their contracts this season
The Government wants all top-flight and EFL players and back-room staff jabbed by October
As it stands, the Government appear happy for the clubs to take the lead and the majority are actively encouraging players to be vaccinated. Some are even considering making it a stipulation of all future contracts.
The PFA are also in favour of vaccination in principle but have a difficult balance to strike as they are also compelled to stand up for players’ individual freedoms and personal choice.
Sportsmail has been told that there is considerable reluctance among some players to be vaccinated, particularly those in their late teens and early 20s, as many do not feel vulnerable to the virus or the potential risks.
After Birmingham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was admitted to hospital with Covid this month, manager Lee Bowyer appeared to adopt a laissez-faire approach to vaccination.
Birmingham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was admitted to hospital after getting coronavirus
‘You can’t force anybody can you?’ he said. ‘Make somebody have the jabs? They are grown men and it is their decision. You can give your professional opinion and advice but it is up to them as individuals.’
The Premier League was completed on schedule with only a handful of postponements due to Covid last season but the virus is far more prevalent in society this summer and players are more vulnerable to exposure as the clubs have stopped operating tight Covid-secure bubbles.
Arsenal and Chelsea have had to alter plans for pre-season fixtures due to positive cases and there are concerns about the possibility of major disruption when the season starts next month.
Premier League clubs will again operate a twice-weekly testing programme but players in the EFL will generally be tested only if they show symptoms.
Covid test tents are already set up at Premier League clubs, such as West Ham (above)