Premier League’s unvaccinated stars face ‘pay-cuts’ for missing games and training

Man Utd v Brentford postponed due to COVID

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Premier League clubs are reportedly weighing up whether to dock the wages of unvaccinated players for each Covid-related absence from matches or training. A spike in Omicron cases has wreaked havoc on English football’s schedule over the past week, with a number of games forcibly postponed. 

Tottenham are only just preparing to return to action after a Covid outbreak saw matches against Rennes and Brighton called off. 

Manchester United also had to cancel their midweek clash with Brentford, with Carrington temporarily closed down amid outbreak fears. 

The United players are expected to return to training today.

As the big business of the Premier League threatens to see further disruption over the coming weeks, clubs are considering how to take preventative action. 

According to The Daily Mail, a number of top-flight sides are looking into the legalities of docking wages for unvaccinated players. 

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German giants Bayern Munich took similar action last month. 

Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting, Michael Cuisance and Joshua Kimmich were all notified that they would be fined for Covid-related absences due to their unvaccinated status. 

And the latter changed his mind as a result. 

“It’s just pure selfishness,” an anonymous official told The Daily Mail.

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“The other players are sick of it, the managers are sick of it.

“And if matches get called off or – heaven forbid – we go back behind closed doors, the fans will be sick of it and they have every right to be.”

Premier League vaccine data has generally been closely guarded, but when the last update was released in October, 68% of players were fully vaccinated. 

Leeds United, Brentford and Wolves are seen as English football’s leaders in that regard, with all three having double-jabbed their entire squad. 

Last week, 42 positive tests in the Premier League represented the highest figure since they started recording such data in May 2020. 

A slightly above-average number of tests were also taken in the same period, although that is broadly to be expected in light of the government’s new guidelines on the Omicron variant. 

As recently as the beginning of October, the Premier League saw a week that yielded zero positive tests.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, admitted this week the club will take a player’s vaccine status into consideration when drawing up their list of January transfer targets.

“We are very thorough and detailed in terms of our recruitment process,” Gerrard said. “I’ve been really impressed with Johan [Lange, the sporting director] and the guys around him in recruitment and scouting in terms of the details and work I’ve seen so far. We look at everything. So I’m sure it will come up.

“But we’ll obviously make decisions as and when we decide a certain person is the one who could come in and make us better. We’ll go across it with a fine-toothed comb. But I don’t think it’s right for me to comment on if I would or wouldn’t in that situation. But it would certainly come into conversations in the background.”

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