The Vice-Chairman of Premier League side West Ham has told footballers to ignore “conspiracy theories” and accept a Covid vaccine – and taken aim at Qatar over the 2022 World Cup.
Outspoken Karren Brady is known as a female pioneer in English football who is unafraid to make her views abundantly clear – and now the reality TV businesswoman has blasted footballers for not coming forward more readily to endorse vaccination campaigns.
The influential 52-year-old baroness has expressed her misgivings with people who ignore the advice of Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and England manager Gareth Southgate to take a jab, accusing their critics of preferring to listen to “cranks on social media”.
“It’s bizarre that men are frightened to face a couple of needles when they are prepared to face the flailing boots of defenders,” Brady wrote in her column in newspaper The Sun, reacting to reports that the Premier League has the highest proportion of players reluctant to receive a vaccine, with up to 40% of stars rumored to have refrained from treatment.
“Some players are reluctant to have it — believing that even if they get the virus, they are unlikely to be badly affected.
“Some are worried about the imagined detrimental long-term effects and a host of other conspiracy theories that are too ludicrous to repeat.
“All of 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.”
Brady pointed to Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who became seriously ill with Covid and has since urged people to become vaccinated, as an example of the risks involved in avoiding being jabbed.
Reports this week have suggested that the organizers of the World Cup could bar players from taking part if they are not fully vaccinated, and Brady evidently backs that idea.
“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,” she claimed, adding that becoming vaccinated should be a matter of choice.
“Good for him. I just hope that others now follow suit and set an example.”
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The life peer of the UK’s ruling Conservative party also issued a scathing appraisal of the decision to award the tournament to Qatar.
“Qatar practically bought the 2022 World Cup,” she alleged. “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 that: 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.”
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