Athletes reminded to follow COVID-19 rules

·3-min read

The Professional Footballers' Association reminded its members of the importance to follow coronavirus protocols after a number of Premier League players breached the rules over the festive period.

A number of top-flight stars were caught attending or hosting events over the Christmas and New Year period which broke England's national guidelines on households mixing.

Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon were pictured together at a Christmas party along with West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini.

Manchester City fullback Benjamin Mendy hosted a party on New Year's Eve while Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic and Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic attending another party on the same night.

None of the incidents are believed to have resulted in any player or staff member subsequently testing positive for COVID-19 but the potential for it to cause disruption to the match schedule and the completion of the season is obvious

So far four Premier League matches have been postponed this season due to coronavirus.

Manchester City Women's Super League match against West Ham United on Saturday was postponed because of COVID-19 cases within the squad.

City reported four positive cases on Monday but did not name the players affected by the virus.

A new date for the game between the women's FA Cup holders and West Ham will be announced in due course, City added.

Second-tier Derby County announced manager Wayne Rooney and his entire first-team squad will miss the FA Cup match against non-league Chorley on Saturday after a coronavirus outbreak at the club, which has closed its training ground.

The Rams will instead send a group of under-23 and under-18 players to play in the third-round game, in a team managed by academy coaches Gary Bowyer and Pat Lyons.

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said athletes should be given priority for coronavirus vaccines to enable the postponed Tokyo Games to proceed this year.

"It's a decision for each country to make and there will be people saying they are jumping the queue but I think that is the most realistic way of it going ahead," Pound told Britain's Sky News on Wednesday.

However, German Olympic Sports Confederation chief Alfons Hoermann was cautious about the proposal.

IOC president Thomas Bach called for athletes to be vaccinated before the Games, due to begin on July 23 but did not say this should be made obligatory to compete.

In the United States, the Cleveland Browns continue to work virtually while trying to get a handle on a COVID-19 situation that has knocked coach Kevin Stefanski and at least two players out of Sunday's NFL play-off game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Major League Baseball on Wednesday issued a memo advising all 30 teams to restrict access to their facilities prior to spring training, according to a report from USA Today.

Spring training is scheduled to begin in Florida and Arizona on February 17.

IndyCar moved what was supposed to be its season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida, from march 7 to April 25.

The 2021 race schedule will instead start at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on April 11.