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Football clubs told to split players by vaccination status

Football authorities have issued guidance to clubs that recommends reimposing a raft of covid restrictions.

In the wake of the government’s Plan B announcement, the Premier League and English Football League have issued renewed advice that could see players separated based on their vaccination status or the position that they play.

The EFL guidance suggests clubs may wish to separate players when travelling based on their risk category – with those unvaccinated or who have not previously had COVID considered at the highest risk of contracting the virus.

It is also recommends that players who occupy certain key positions, such as goalkeepers, reduce time together to ensure clubs are not left without cover.

The guidance also suggests clubs should increase mask-wearing and reconsider holding events such as Christmas parties.

It follows Spurs’ recent postponement of their games against Rennes and Brighton after a COVID outbreak hit at least eight players and five members of staff.

It means Spurs are likely to have a congested fixture list when the games are rearranged, with the football authorities now acting to reduce the chances of postponements playing havoc with the football calendar.

Clubs will also be concerned for the health of their players.

The Bayern Munich player Joshua Kimmich, who was understood to have not been vaccinated, recently contracted COVID and is now out until the new year after reporting a lung problem following his recovery.

The recent government announcements also affect supporters, with COVID passes required at all games with more than 10,000 in attendance.

Clubs will be scrambling to put in place these checks for supporters at grounds and to implement the new protocols at their training grounds.

Ahead of Aston Villa’s game with Liverpool tomorrow, Villa manager Steven Gerrard said, “I had a conversation last night with [Premier League chief executive] Christian Purslow.

“He’s going to come down on Monday and address the players in more detail.

“But we have been told and warned that things are changing all the time. Just to be careful and look after ourselves.”

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