Premier League will not try to vaccinate footballers ahead of wider population

Jason Burt
·2-min read
Brighton and Hove Albion fans adhering to social distancing during a return to stadiums test eve - PA
Brighton and Hove Albion fans adhering to social distancing during a return to stadiums test eve - PA

The Premier League will not attempt to provide Covid-19 vaccines for footballers ahead of the general population.

The organisation would oppose any attempts by clubs to jump the queue should private firms attempt to offer the vaccine.

The Premier League is fully committed to the vaccine being administered to people at risk first and would also fight attempts by sport to argue it is a special case. The league already runs a hugely effective testing regime.

The Government has already made it clear that everyone in the country will be offered a free jab on the NHS before any private providers will be able to sell the product.

The United Kingdom has become the first country in the world to approve a Pfizer/BionTech vaccine for widespread use and a programme will begin next week.

It comes, of course, on the day that football clubs are able to welcome back up to 2,000 fans at a game in an area under Tier Two restrictions.

The Premier League, in particular, remains keen to introduce ‘clinical passports’ which would be an app-based system that looks at symptoms and other Covid-19 factors. In theory this could be adapted to show if someone has had the vaccine.

So far the Government has resisted this idea, believing it is too complicated, and preferring what is known as a “low-tech entry points” for fans to get into stadiums. These could include health questionnaires and temperature checks. However it is understood there has been a softening of the stance on ‘clinical passports’ although they are some way off being approved.

There is a hope that should the return of fans prove successful and restrictions are eased that the numbers can be scaled up quickly. The aim is for some stadiums to reach 50 per cent capacity even before the vaccine is rolled out across the general population. There is an acceptance that stadiums will not return being full until a vaccine has an effect and social distancing measures are eased.