IAN HERBERT: If Premier League players don’t take the vaccine, DROP THEM

new one seems to know how the ridiculous idea got a foothold in the elite of football where there is such enormous wealth and time to educate and inform players.

But the myth that Christian Eriksen collapsed at Euro 2020 due to the Covid vaccine is actually still circulating among some Premier League clubs.

Evidence to the contrary – if it was really necessary – is unequivocal. The top man of Inter Milan, Eriksen’s club, has actually stated that the Dane has not been vaccinated. Anyone with basic reading skills should be able to understand that the rumor is nonsense.

Premier League players are being pressured to get the vaccine, but some are still avoiding it

Premier League players are being pressured to get the vaccine, but some are still avoiding it

But that doesn’t seem to be enough to counter those ridiculous, dangerous lies that have been floating around social media and that many stories have fueled some football players’ refusal of the vaccine.

Everton’s Fabian Delph gave a glimpse into that world when he posted on Instagram a quote from “Healing Chamber,” a holistic physician from Charlotte, North Carolina. “It is now a ‘conspiracy theory’ to believe that the immune system is capable of doing the job it was designed to do,” the post said.

Needless to say the shutters went down once inquired about this. Neither the player’s club nor the agent declined to comment and the message was hastily removed.

That’s how it is at the top of the game. Far more people are employed to shape and polish the image of players than to write about it objectively and critically. They are untouchable.

Some speculated that Christian Eriksen's harrowing collapse was caused by his jab.  had had

Some speculated that Christian Eriksen's harrowing collapse was caused by his jab.  had had

Some speculated that Christian Eriksen’s harrowing collapse was caused by his jab. had had

Well, they shouldn’t be when it comes to this refusal to think a little bit about the need to vaccinate.

The top clubs have full contact departments with players to do everything from changing their light bulbs to advising on which sports cars to buy, not to mention armies of medical personnel. Only an exceptional reason, such as strong religious belief, should provide the least justification for refusal.

It is unfashionable to suggest that vaccinations should be mandatory. The counter-argument about the individual’s right to choose returns quickly. Well, society transcends the individual in times like these. A beleaguered NHS staff desperate for the vaccination message to get home is more important.

There is also the risk that the unvaccinated pose to the vulnerable. The Medical Research Council and Birmingham University have just found that the immunocompromised patients show a low to negligible response after receiving two doses of vaccine.

Needless to say, Delph didn’t promote that to his 380,000 Instagram followers.

Fabian Delph is one of those still skeptical about the vaccine after he posted online

Danny Murphy, who understands the world and mind of football players better than most, asked on these pages last week why senior players didn’t sit down with those who didn’t want to be vaccinated.

“You feel the majority have fallen for the conspiracy theories or just feel they are invincible at their age,” he wrote. “Positive tests mean that the team selection is weakened.”

But it’s about more than the team. Football clubs can only charge supporters substantial sums of money to refill their stadiums because of the successful vaccination program – managed because of the tireless, selfless work of NHS staff and volunteers.

By October, fans will be asked to provide proof of vaccination to monitor and pay the wages of players who don’t feel like it.

It would help if managers were more willing to criticize and challenge players who do not want to vaccinate. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks of ‘the guys’ who don’t.

“That’s their prerogative,” said Steve Bruce, whose goalkeeper just spent a week in the hospital with Covid and has fallen off a rock. Managers seem afraid of their own shadows.

Few in authority will say anything substantial. The Premier League does not want to communicate an official position. Several clubs do not even want to tell The Mail on Sunday whether they should double vaccinate players. Compare the US NFL, which isn’t afraid to say it wants to make vaccines mandatory for players.

Clubs are hesitant to make their views known on whether they think vaccines should be mandatory

Clubs are hesitant to make their views known on whether they think vaccines should be mandatory

Clubs are hesitant to make their views known on whether they think vaccines should be mandatory

There was no such reluctance in the Premier League when players were honored for venturing into the political space to denounce bigotry and social inequality. Coming to the rescue of the NHS is just as important, albeit a form of social responsibility that requires a bit of fibre. It does not imply that you are imbued with acclaim.

Gareth Southgate, such an impressive leader of our national game, described just this week the abuse he faced in encouraging vaccination.

You don’t find the same sluggishness and complacency in countries where vaccines are scarce. What the Japanese wouldn’t give for the supplies Britain has. A vaccination center for young people was set up on Friday in the Shibuya district in Tokyo, where they like to come. Queues started forming at 4am. It was overwhelmed.

What does it take to shake those who drag their feet into football from their indifference? No place in the team would be a good start. The lawyers are preparing. Employment law matters arise when mandatory vaccination is included in players’ contracts.

But clubs will start to question whether they can afford the risk of an unvaccinated, clinically more vulnerable player if the Delta variant remains free. As always in football, self-interest will prevail.

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