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Premier League manager calls for ‘fast-track’ jabs for footballers

Written by on 8 January 2021

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has said footballers should be “fast-tracked” for COVID-19 vaccines, with the money saved on testing given to the NHS.

The Premier League manager believes “vaccination is the way forward throughout football” so the sport can remain competitive after a raft of positive tests – but insisted he was not suggesting players should be ahead of the vulnerable or key workers.

He said: “I appreciate some people will be surprised by that comment and people will say: ‘Why should footballers get vaccinations?’ But, if the testing diminishes, that money could be used for a much better cause.

“Football then also remains a competitive industry rather than what might end up as a skewed industry because of players missing from games. It’s a common-sense view.”

He added: “What I’m saying is: Is there a timeline where they can fast-track to that period? Logically, it would be better putting the funding that is put into testing into the system to encourage more vaccinations.

“That money could be used more wisely, I would suggest, to get it out there quicker to the vulnerable and beyond.”

The Burnley manager said the club has been affected by “a couple of cases” but its next match, an FA Cup tie at home to MK Dons, would go ahead.

More from Covid-19

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Man City’s Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus are among the Premier League stars who’ve tested positive in recent weeks

Top-flight players and staff are being tested twice a week, with 40 confirmed cases in the latest round of results. The English Football League is also moving to twice-weekly tests.

Aston Villa’s third-round FA Cup match against Liverpool on Friday night was thrown into doubt after several positive tests among Villa’s senior squad. It has now been given the go-ahead after another round of tests.

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound has also suggested athletes should be given priority access to vaccines ahead of the rescheduled Tokyo Games in July.

The Canadian told Sky News: “In Canada where we might have 300 or 400 hundred athletes – to take 300 or 400 vaccines out of several million in order to have Canada represented at an international event of this stature, character and level – I don’t think there would be any kind of a public outcry about that.”

The British Olympic Association and UK Sport have discussed ways of securing athletes a vaccine, but were keen to stress that this would not be at the expense of elderly or vulnerable people.