The English Football League has issued advice to clubs to segregate their players depending on their Covid vaccination status or if they have previously been infected, reports have claimed.
The EFL consists of 72 clubs across England’s Championship, League One and League Two competitions.
According to The Telegraph, they have been advised to split up stars in groups such as unvaccinated, double-jabbed, boosted, and previously infected when traveling to and from fixtures to reduce possible coronavirus transmission.
The move comes amid the UK government’s rolling out of Plan B to battle the Omicron variant this week, which includes the reintroduction of the use of facemasks indoors and the need to carry a vaccine passport or provide a negative test result to enter football stadiums and other venues with large crowds.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson reintroduced working from home where possible but encouraged people to attend office Christmas parties, a controversial move as Downing Street battles accusations that it held bashes during lockdown last year.
Meanwhile, the English Premier League has contacted all 20 of its clubs to re-install emergency Covid protocol with both the top tier and EFL advising against end-of-year parties.
The Telegraph’s report further claims that the EFL has instructed teams to separate their goalkeepers in training to reduce the chances of “close contact”.
Above all, the guidance aims to ensure that there are no disruptions to the packed calendar over Christmas and New Year, with the new measures set to last until the end of the next month.
In addition to maintaining social distancing and not sitting down for meals together with their whole squad, EFL players have been ordered to bear in mind contact with others “outside of their bubble”.
A separate report from The Sun alleges there is fear among Premier League bosses that unvaccinated stars could be banned from playing altogether.
In October, it was announced that 81% of players in the league had received at least one jab of their vaccination and 68% had been double-jabbed.
While these figures are said to have risen in the past six weeks, clubs have apparently noted how the NBA previously sought a vaccine mandate with rebels like Kyrie Irving sidelined for his refusal to get vaccinated amid strict New York Covid laws.
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Positive case and illness at Leicester @SkyKaveh has the latest on fresh Coronavirus rules in the Premier League pic.twitter.com/iD7dVv7WDC
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 9, 2021
In the Germaan Bundesliga, where unvaccinated players who test positive must head into isolation, big names such as Joshua Kimmich have also been out of action and docked pay.
For clubs already braced for fan anger from those who can’t attend matches without proof of their double-jabbed status, potentially not being able to field some of their stars would be added stress.