Footballers must set good example to rest of society
Players need to be on alert if they want their sport to be allowed to continue as before, writes Prof Carl Heneghan
We must remember that the likes of Paul Pogba are human beings like anybody else, and people are craving socialisation. It does not surprise me that some players will get Covid-19 now, given the fact that there are about 4,000 infections a day in the UK.
Clearly, teams will need to take a more vigilant approach when the season gets going again, which will be difficult for players, but that is the professionalism that needs to come through. A key issue for some
of the players is what has been going on abroad, where there is no test and tracing or social distancing in bars.
We have seen with a number of pictures, including the Usain Bolt birthday party, where people are not necessarily maintaining their social distance or being obviously vigilant.
We are not saying you have to stand 20metres away, but we are asking you not to do things like hug or touch each other.
In terms of perception, footballers have had different privileges in resuming full-contact activities compared to the rest of the population. As we go into the winter, it is incredibly important that the sports that want to keep open get coronavirus back under control, as our priorities have to be keeping businesses and – especially – schools open.
We are seeing structural changes in society, and we are seeing huge changes in how we are working and what we consider important.
I think there is now a situation where you want to avoid people becoming disfranchised and disenchanted with what anyone with a public profile is doing when others are making sacrifices.
There are many people who will not have hugged their grandmother for five or six months because of the risk. And I think that is the bit where we all have to be mindful – footballers included.