Pep Guardiola has refuted the added focus on footballers regarding the spread of Covid-19 following criticism of the sport’s adherence to guidelines.
Football has come under increasing scrutiny this week from some sectors regarding coronavirus protocols, with Government officials having criticised team celebrations following last weekend’s FA Cup third round fixtures.
The worsening situation of the coronavirus pandemic has seen an unwanted spotlight turned towards football, with elite sport continuing despite another Government-imposed lockdown in a bid to combat rising cases.
Julian Knight, the chair of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, branded footballers ‘brainless’ for the ‘awful message’ sent out from during team celebrations in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Such has been the external pressure, the Premier League has held a meeting this week to remind players of the Covid-19 protocols with an emphasis on goal celebrations and avoiding unnecessary contact.
This, of course, is despite Premier League players and staff being tested twice weekly for the virus and remaining in a secure bubble in order to keep the competition running, and Guardiola has responded to what many deem as another stick with which to beat footballers with.
“We know how difficult the situation is here in the UK,” said Guardiola at his pre-match press conference ahead of his sides clash with Crystal Palace.
“We have to do it and we are going to do our best to follow the new rules.
“But the situation in the UK isn’t due to football players. Don’t put the responsibility on us. From day one we’ve followed what the PM has said.”