A quarter of players at English Football League clubs “do not intend” to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Figures released by the EFL state that 59 per cent of footballers across the three divisions are already double-vaccinated, with 16 per cent set to have the jab.
But, according to data collated for November, the remaining 25 per cent plan to remain unvaccinated.
— EFL Communications (@EFL_Comms) December 16, 2021
Tighter protocols at first-team training grounds and more regular testing will be enforced in light of the increased transmission rate of the Omicron variant.
A host of Championship, League One and League Two fixtures scheduled to be played on Saturday have been postponed following a series of outbreaks.
The EFL’s medical advisor encouraged all players and staff to become fully vaccinated and also book a booster jab.
Dr Richard Higgins said: “We know that getting double-jabbed and boosted now will reduce the risk of getting seriously ill or dying from Covid-19, reduce the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19 amongst team-mates and loved ones, while helping protect against Covid-19 variants including Omicron.”
Updated guidance on the minimum number of available players required to fulfil a fixture were made public as part of Thursday afternoon’s announcement from the EFL.
Clubs will be expected to play where there are 14 players, including a goalkeeper, available from the registered squad list.
Under-21 players who are not on the squad list but have played one league match, or any other contracted player not on the squad list but otherwise eligible to play will also be included in the considerations.
Each of the 72 clubs will need to implement a set of “red” protocols in a bid to mitigate the spread of infection in first-team training facilities.
❌ Unfortunately we can confirm that Saturday's meeting with @LutonTown has been postponed after a significant number of COVID cases were recorded in our first team and U23 squads.
We apologise for the disappointment caused to our supporters. A new date will be announced soon.
— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) December 15, 2021
The protocols will come into effect from Saturday.
Players and staff must take a lateral flow test on the day before a game, while social distancing measures will be required outside of physical sessions, along with restrictions to the use of indoor facilities, manual therapy and group travel.
Any person who returns a positive lateral flow test will then be required to take a PCR test and isolate, in line with Government guidance.