EXCLUSIVE: Premier League will ‘reward’ clubs who have the highest numbers of vaccinated players amid fears over a slow uptake – with at least two teams having no more than six players jabbed
- The Premier League are stepping up their efforts to ensure players are jabbed
- A note sent out to clubs told them of plans to ‘reward’ them for vaccinations
- There are fears over a slow uptake and the top-flight says ‘we have a way to go’
- Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante became the latest player to contract Covid
The Premier League has written to clubs informing them of plans to ‘reward’ teams who have the highest numbers of vaccinated players.
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante was confirmed on Tuesday as the latest player to contract Covid, forcing him to miss his side’s Champions League clash against Juventus on Wednesday night.
And Sportsmail can reveal that in a briefing note sent to clubs last week, the Premier League are stepping up their efforts to ensure more players are fully vaccinated due to fears over a slow uptake.
The Premier League will ‘reward’ clubs who have the highest numbers of vaccinated players
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante was confirmed as the latest player to contract coronavirus
The document read: ‘According to the data we have, only seven clubs’ squads are more than 50 per cent fully vaccinated, so we have a way to go.’
Sportsmail revealed last week that at least two Premier League sides have no more than six players vaccinated.
But Wolves, Brentford and Leeds have reported between 89 and 100 per cent vaccination levels and there is growing optimism that the figures at other clubs will increase in the coming weeks.
The note continued: ‘We are considering if and how best we can ‘reward’ those squads/players who are most Covid-compliant and who have opted to be vaccinated.
The top-flight are now stepping up their efforts to ensure more players are fully vaccinated
‘It is increasingly clear that full vaccination will be the key criteria for Government and health authorities, in terms of international travel and potential Covid certification at large scale events.’
The document goes on to say that an updated ’emergency measures’ and matchday operations plan, which is due to be circulated to clubs this week, will include proposals that could see relaxed Covid guidelines on a club-by-club basis depending on vaccination levels.
The email also confirms that the current training and matchday protocols will remain in place until at least December 31, 2021. Vaccination levels will be used as a barometer for the possibility of adapting the guidelines.
Speaking in light of Kante’s positive test, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he cannot and will not force his players to take the jab.
Thomas Tuchel, the Chelsea boss, has said he can’t and won’t force players to get vaccinated
‘The players are adults and have free choice whether they want to get vaccinated or not,’ said the German. ‘We should accept it. This is more or less everything I can say.
‘I know the situation is far from over and every time somebody gets it here from us and our crew, that makes us all the more aware it’s not over. I hope that it gets as less as possible but I clearly don’t have a solution.’
When asked whether footballers should set an example by having the vaccine, Tuchel replied: ‘It would be easy to say yes now and get applause from a lot of people. But do I have the right to say that? I’m not so sure.
‘I can make the decision for myself and everyone else has to reflect and take the risk or not. Vaccination seems to be a proper protection. I am vaccinated.
Leicester left back Ryan Bertrand contracted Covid and revealed he felt the effects in training
‘But I don’t really see myself in a position to speak out on proper recommendations. I’m a football coach, not a 100 per cent expert on this.’
Leicester left back Ryan Bertrand contracted Covid last month, and said that the effects had left him struggling in training.
‘It’s been a bit of tough one,’ said the 32-year-old. ‘In the isolation period, the Covid symptoms for me weren’t so bad. There was a prolonged effect after the quarantine, when I was feeling a bit off.
‘Those symptoms lingered a little longer than anticipated. That was frustrating.’