‘Why should prima donnas be exempt? Get vaccinated or get off the pitch’: Government advisor on Covid calls for footballers to face vaccine passports to play in the Premier League and an end to their ‘special treatment’

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  • Pro Keith Neill believes top flight players are role models and should be jaw-dropping
  • He is concerned that players could travel to red-list countries and escape quarantine
  • Experts would like to see Covid passports for fans, players and staff
  • And Burnley defender Nathan Collins admits the Clarets’ dressing room is divided

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‘Prima donna’ footballers have been reprimanded by a public health expert who advises the government on Covid infections for refusing to vaccinate against the virus.

Professor Keith Neill joined government ministers, pundits and doctors in telling players they needed a jab after it emerged that two-thirds of top-flight stars have not been vaccinated.

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Also, five England stars joined the national team this week without a jab.

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Five England stars join the squad without vaccinations this week

Pro Neil is fed up with what he sees as special treatment for top flight players, who he feels are not doing their job to reduce the risk of infection.

“Players should get vaccinated or get off the pitch,” said emeritus professor of epidemiology at the University of Nottingham.

Footballers are role models. A lot of people notice what football players do.

The expert, who was unveiled as an advisor to the government on COVID and ethnicity in October last year, does not think footballers should be exempted from the usual quarantine regime when returning from matches in red-listed countries.

“He has been treated so special,” he said.

Three Lions owner Gareth Southgate has urged his players to get vaccinated against Kovid-19

Three Lions owner Gareth Southgate has urged his players to get vaccinated against Kovid-19

‘Just because she’s a prima donna, why should she be exempted from quarantine?’

Prof Neil is concerned about the risk of the new variants being introduced in the UK from traveling to countries outside Europe.

“With South America, we need to be especially vigilant,” he said.

Meanwhile, at home, Prof Neil believes vaccine passports should be brought forward for everyone attending matches, including players and staff.

The government had planned to introduce Covid passports from 1 October at large events, including football matches with crowds of more than 10,000 people in England. However, the plans were shelved due to political opposition.

Some of England's senior stars have dismissed the vaccine - there is no suggestion that any of the players pictured above may not have been jab

Some of England’s senior stars have dismissed the vaccine – there is no suggestion that any of the players pictured above may not have been jab

The current situation is that passports can be offered under the government’s ‘Plan B’, if there is an increase in the number of Covid infections and hospitalisations.

‘I think Plan B is needed now,’ said Prof. Neil. And he said: ‘I will present a Covid passport for the entire stadium. Then everyone in the stadium is covered.

‘If you have Covid passports for fans, you should have for players.’

Government ministers have not set a limit for the implementation of Plan B, but earlier this week, Prof Neil Ferguson, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, suggested that the number of hospitalizations due to Covid if 1,200 per day, it can be implemented.

The latest hospital data also shows that there were 681 Covid admissions on October 3, a small increase of 4 per cent over the previous week’s numbers.

Pro Neil’s intervention comes after media pundit and former Chelsea and Everton winger, Pat Nevin, criticized the footballers for refusing their Covid jobs.

The ex-Chelsea and Scotland star said he was ‘angry’ and ‘upset’ to hear about the percentage of players who were not jab when ‘everyone bent down to get football back’.

It was revealed last week by SportsMail that only seven out of 20 clubs have squads where 50 percent or more of the players have been fully vaccinated.

The Premier League and the government have made efforts to promote vaccination among players.

Former Chelsea and Scotland star Pat Nevin says he is 'massively disappointed' that two-thirds of Premier League stars have not had double vaccinations

Former Chelsea and Scotland star Pat Nevin says he is ‘massively disappointed’ that two-thirds of Premier League stars have not had double vaccinations

The top flight is considering whether to “reward” clubs that have higher coronavirus vaccination rates.

PFA chief executive Mahta Molongo has written to all players and deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan van Tam made a myth busting video, as well as briefing Premier League captains.

However, it seems the message is not being received.

Republic of Ireland international Callum Robinson admitted he opted not to vaccinate against Covid-19 despite being hit by the virus twice.

The 26-year-old West Brom striker was asked at a news conference if he had been vaccinated, he replied: ‘I have not been vaccinated, no. This is my favorite at the moment.

Republic of Ireland's Callum Robinson was the first high-profile player to confirm he had refused the jab - despite contracting Covid twice

Republic of Ireland’s Callum Robinson was the first high-profile player to confirm he had refused the jab – despite contracting Covid twice

His teammate Nathan Collins later defended Robinson’s right to choose. The Burnley defender, who confirmed he had been killed, also revealed that there are differing opinions among players at Turf Moor.

Asked whether his experience had led to a split among Burnley players, Collins said: “Basically yes. People have their reasons, their own personal opinion about it, or whether or not to get it. There are personal reasons for getting it.

“Either way, I will support any of my teammates or people I know who don’t want to get it or if they get it.”

England boss Gareth Southgate has urged the stars of England to take Kovid for the benefit of society,

Burnley defender Nathan Collins says the Clarets dressing room is divided on jobs

Burnley defender Nathan Collins says the Clarets dressing room is divided on jobs

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