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- German association football player and manager
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes getting a coronavirus vaccination should be mandatory “from a moral point of view”.
While the Reds boss accepts that view is unenforceable, the German, outspoken in his support of the vaccination programme, thinks players have a responsibility to follow the vast majority of the population.
Klopp said 99 per cent of his squad were fully vaccinated and have either had or were due to have their booster shot.
That contrasts sharply with the situation in the English Football League, where a quarter of players have said they have no intention of getting themselves jabbed.
“From a moral point of view it should be mandatory for each person I think but that’s not from a legal point of view, if that makes sense,” Klopp said.
“It’s a question of persuading. If I do something that helps the people around me then for me that’s mandatory – but obviously some people see that differently.
“I’m 54 years old and I am really a big believer that you can convince people about the right things to do but I’m not sure in this specific case.
“England is a much better place vaccination-wise than Germany is for example.
“And it is unbelievable how aggressive the anti-vax scene is and how clear they are with all the things, they obviously know better than the rest of us, it is really tricky.”
The Premier League, EFL and the Professional Footballers’ Association have arranged players’ meetings with England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam to discuss concerns regarding the vaccine.
It is understood in at least one meeting he was asked about an increased risk of heart inflammation as a result of getting vaccinated.
Van-Tam is believed to have told the players there was a small increased risk from the vaccines, but a far greater risk of heart inflammation from catching Covid.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admits the Gunners have not yet had to make a decision on how to handle unvaccinated players in the squad environment but they may well have to.
“That is a conversation we had with all the players and it goes down to the education and being respective of their education and culture,” said the Spaniard, who said he would have to factor in extra consideration about signing an unvaccinated player.
“But if it gets to a point that you’re scared about the welfare of the players or the people involved at the club, that’s a decision to make – but we haven’t been in that position ourselves.”
Arteta believes, however, players’ opinions on getting jabbed are personal to them.
“I think it can be really positive (speaking out in favour) but I don’t think you have to put the players in that obligation to do anything like that,” he added.
“There are a lot of private matters that you have to have the freedom to decide about your life and your welfare. If you want to do it practically because it’s what you feel, I think that is right.”
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— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2021
Tottenham have been the hardest hit in terms of matches missed with Sunday’s fixture at home to Liverpool scheduled to be their first football in a fortnight.
Spurs manager Antonio Conte said: “We want to continue to play football, we want to continue to let the fans come to the stadium because we lived the experience in the past and to play without fans was very sad for everybody.
“We are in time to make the best solution to collaborate together, to try not to stop football, to try not to close again the stadiums. It’s very important for everybody.”