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This week, players were reminded to avoid handshakes, high-fives and hugs, with particular attention to all aspects of life under lock and key in the face of a coronavirus pandemic.

Sport examines the arguments on both sides of this debate.


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Since resuming operations after the initial lockout early last year, football has shown that it can adapt and function in the unprecedented environment it finds itself in.

Elite football players are among the most tested in the country. Players in the Premier League and English Football League (EFL) are tested twice a week for the coronavirus.

And because the sport is played outside, there is less chance of transmission.

In this week’s update of Premier League guidelines, players were reminded of the importance of good hygiene and wearing face masks.

They were also reminded of the importance of social distance, even when celebrating goals.

But how could it be controlled at the time it happened? Who can deny Sheffield United a small celebration after their first win of the Premier League season on Tuesday night? Or when Manchester United climbed to the top of the table for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson?


Simon Stone, football journalist

I have had the opportunity to attend many games since the start of the project.

Sure, there are no fans, but aside from that and the social stratification among substitutes and coaching staff, things on the field are more or less the same.

The players argue with the referees, the managers reprimand four referees, the players dive, they commit fouls and intentionally embarrass themselves, they act the loudest and try to get an advantage that can make a difference. I would say they are in the athlete’s zone.

I understand the controversy surrounding the holidays, but I don’t think you can expect players to immediately leave their zone as soon as they score a goal in a high-pressure situation, suddenly remember what’s going on in the rest of the company, and then go back once the game has started.


Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after Manchester United’s victory over Burnley: It’s an emotional game. We need to understand the actors when they’re partying.

Still, he acknowledged that they understand that the question is now a little less emotional and less embracing.

said Roy Hodgson, managing director of Crystal Palace: People have established habits when they score a goal. With the emotions and joy of the moment, there is a danger that the players will move back across the path. I don’t know if managers and coaches can do more than just churn out messages and protocols.

Players from Sheffield United (left), Manchester United (centre) and Everton (right) celebrate after scoring a goal The Premier League has reiterated that its protocols include a ban on players shaking hands or kissing.


Simply put: We are in a global pandemic. Over 80,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the UK alone and once again we are living under lock and key.

It’s been almost a year since we’ve been able to hold our loved ones in our arms, and many people haven’t left the house in months, while parents are forced to take on the added burden of raising their children at home.

So when they see players kissing each other after a goal, singing in the locker room and putting their arms around each other’s shoulders, it’s a slap in the face for some.

But the problems are not just due to violations on the field or in the football environment. During the holiday season, there were several violations of coronavirus protocols, with players from different clubs attending or hosting parties.

Many clubs have reported outbreaks of the Coronavirus in recent weeks, resulting in several Premier League matches being postponed.

Preparing for a new inspection – Analysis

Sports editor Dan Roan

No matter how often players are tested, at a time when hospitals are overcrowded and the government is desperately trying to convince people to respect social distance, it’s easy to see why scenes of players not abiding by the rules of football regarding unnecessary contact during celebration are not helpful.

With most of us unable to take in our loved ones and much of life and work closed, it is of course incumbent on those in elite sport to lead by example, follow the seemingly simple rules and justify the privilege of being allowed to continue.

Others, on the other hand, fear that it is unfair and contradictory to require players to have fun while suppressing their natural instincts. Some believe this is a tactic by politicians to divert attention from other issues and take a much needed joy out of the game.

At this stage, Ministers do not oppose a further suspension of top-level sport. They acknowledge that this is a welcome distraction for many, that it does not facilitate transfer in the community and that the protocols and tests have been largely successful.

But after players breached holiday bans, and with the prospect of a tougher national ban in sight, the sports minister issued his toughest warning yet and football authorities are under pressure.

Unfortunately, every holiday season is now under the microscope and it will be interesting to see what is considered excessive and whether the threat of fines changes behavior. Prepare for further controversy.


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