Sean Dyche has offered his thoughts that Premier League footballers should be ‘fast-tracked’ to get the Covid vaccine.
Premier League players and staff are currently tested for coronavirus twice a week as per the protocols for maintaining safety across the division, with the UK having announced a new national lockdown amid concerns over rising cases and a new variant of the virus.
Vaccinations for the virus have begun across the nation with the most vulnerable first in line, with 1.5 million already having received the first dose as the government aim to have vaccinated 13 million of the most vulnerable by mid-February.
Dyche has however suggested that elite sportsmen should also be given the vaccine in order to maintain competitiveness in the sport, with the money saved on repeated testing being ‘channelled back into the NHS’.
“I think vaccination is the way forward throughout football,” Dyche said at a press conference, as per the Guardian. “I can only talk for the Premier League because I’m in the Premier League, but I think it would be good for football.
“I appreciate some people will be surprised by that comment, but if you think about it rationally, we are all going to get vaccinated. A lot of people wanted football back – the cash it generates through tax, the wellbeing of what the players do many times has been seen – there’s a lot of good going through football.
“The amount of money being spent on testing in the Premier League, if that money was channelled back into the NHS and the vaccinations system, surely that’s a better place to be than it is just continuing testing a load of footballers two, three, four times a week.
“I appreciate there’ll be some people who say, ‘Why should footballers get vaccinated?’, but, if there’s 20 Premier League clubs and 100 vaccinations at a club, let’s say, I would imagine the payback to the system, the NHS and the vaccination system, financially, would be considerable.
“I’m told if you are vaccinated, you don’t need to keep testing. So therefore if the testing diminishes, that money could be used for a much better cause in my opinion, and therefore football stays a competitive industry rather than what it might end up, a skewed industry, because of players missing from games.
“I appreciate there will be people who disagree with me, probably wholeheartedly, but I just think the balance of getting some vaccinations quicker throughout football, the payback would be enormous.”
“I just think we have to be careful with the sport,” he added. “It’s not beyond anyone’s health, quite obviously. But the competitive nature of the game will diminish if teams are losing five, six, seven players a time. That would skew possible outcomes of a whole season’s work.
“I must reiterate, I’m not remotely trying to step in front of the key workers, the essential people who need vaccinations. I’m just suggesting if there is a window to fast-track through football, to get it back to being fully competitive, on an even playing field.”
Burnley are one of a number of Premier League sides to have reported positive cases of the past week, with Aston Villa’s set to field a team made up of Under 23 players when they face Liverpool this evening following a ‘significant’ outbreak within their senior squad.
Dyche, however, confirmed that Burnley will be able to fulfil their fixture with MK Dons tomorrow despite the positive cases within the Turf Moor camp.
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