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Premier League player says It will be hard not to celebrate goals

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Premier League players are finding it difficult to avoid hugging during goal celebrations as COVID-19 cases surged in England.

A Premier League player has told BBC Sport that it will be difficult to avoid breaking new goal-celebration rules, which have come about after a rise in COVID-19 cases in England.

The league wants players and staff to avoid “unnecessary contact”.

There were goal celebrations involving Sheffield United, Manchester United, Manchester City and Fulham this week.

“It’s going be hard to think: ‘I’d better not celebrate because of Covid.’ Doesn’t come into your mind,” he said.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters recently wrote to clubs to “stress the critical importance of adhering” to strengthened Covid-19 protocols. They were reminded that “handshakes, high fives and hugs must be avoided”.

The player, who chose to remain anonymous, added: “It’s the fact that football is still going and people feel maybe it shouldn’t be, and want to find a way to say something bad.

“We shower together, get changed together, train, tackle – all that stuff – sit on a plane together, but we have to get three coaches to the game.”

Later on Thursday, the Premier League and English Football League declared in a joint statement that they were confident their respective campaigns will conclude on schedule in May, as long as clubs adhered to the Covid safety measures.

The Football Association is writing to all Women’s Super League (WSL) clubs before the weekend to remind them of their responsibilities and the need to adhere to protocols. This includes avoiding contact, such as hugging, during celebrations.

It is also considering plans for clubs to bring academy players into their elite testing pool to widen their squad and to try to avoid the mass postponements that all but wiped out last weekend’s WSL fixtures.

The majority of academies are closed at the moment as they cannot meet the elite protocols.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said after Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Brighton that he “didn’t know” whether it would be possible to curb celebrations and pointed out that players were regularly tested and matches take place outside.

Brighton boss Graham Potter said it was “doable” but added that it would need a change in mindset to ensure the protocols were met.

BBC

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