football

Karren Brady: Raheem Sterling has announced he’s been jabbed against Covid and other Prem aces should follow his example


IT is quite possible that unvaccinated players will be told they cannot take part in the Qatar World Cup next winter.

It’s bizarre that men are frightened to face a couple of needles when they are prepared to face the flailing boots of defenders.

England superstar Raheem Sterling made a powerful statement by publicly revealing he has been vaccinated

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England superstar Raheem Sterling made a powerful statement by publicly revealing he has been vaccinatedCredit: Rex
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate is among top-level personalities to advocate getting jabbed

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Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate is among top-level personalities to advocate getting jabbedCredit: PA

But that’s the way it goes these days.

And, frankly, it’s hard to understand why the advice of Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, never mind England boss Gareth Southgate, is spurned in favour of cranks on social media.

There must be a great deal of doubt that Qatar would fulfil the threat.

It is, after all, a desert state with a smaller population than the West Midlands and its sole claim to power rests in oil wealth.

Still, this muscle now makes much of the Middle East a mighty force in sport.

Two major teams are subsidised by it although, comforting to the rest of us, all the money available has not won — whoops, I nearly wrote ‘bought’ — Paris Saint-Germain the Champions League yet.

Yet Qatar practically bought the 2022 World Cup.


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Most of the Fifa committee who voted for it have been charged in America with corruption or are, I suspect, currently thriving in mansions by the sea.

Not only this. Next season’s European and domestic calendar has been distorted by the World Cup.

The tournament will now be held from November 21 to December 18 after it was discovered that the desert would be boiling hot in the summer.
Really, you couldn’t invent it . . . 

So now dwarfish Qatar are telling the nations of Fifa how to behave.

But, regardless, clubs are now beginning to fret about the anti-vaxxers among their staff anyway.

Vaccination is a personal choice. But it is worrying that player resistance is said to be up to 40 per cent — much higher in the Prem than all other European leagues.

Some players are reluctant to have it — believing that even if they get the virus, they are unlikely to be badly affected.

While some are worried about the imagined detrimental long-term effects and a host of other conspiracy theories that are too ludicrous to repeat.

All the professional advice points otherwise. And while the Covid virus is known as a consistent killer of the elderly and weak, it is also a nasty threat to young people — footballers among them.

Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow was very ill indeed, losing nearly two stone in weight and being left in “horrific” pain having caught the virus.

Should the number of cases rise significantly, or if the NHS is overwhelmed this winter (as it has been for the past nine winters) the Government might well demand every person at a professional match is double vaccinated — including the players.

Never mind Qatar, this stance would send a shiver of apprehension through every club.

The present refuseniks, secure in their privilege that testing has become as much a part of their job as training, will have to conform. Or take a ten-week holiday.

Because that’s the time required between vaccinations for the full force of prevention to work and be allowed back in the stadium.

The advice of experts like Professor Jonathan Van-Tam seems to have been treated with less respect by many players than unqualified 'cranks' on social media

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The advice of experts like Professor Jonathan Van-Tam seems to have been treated with less respect by many players than unqualified ‘cranks’ on social mediaCredit: PA

Vaccination is a personal choice. But it is worrying that player resistance to being jabbed is said to be up to 40 per cent — much higher in the Premier League than in all other European leagues.

I might be wrong but I suspect the FA will resolve to rule that all our World Cup squad will have to follow the example of players such as Raheem Sterling, who has announced publicly that he has been jabbed.

Good for him. I just hope that others now follow suit and set an example.

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Raheem Sterling shows off his skills in training





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