sport news PFA tells players they are putting football at risk by breaking Covid rules

Footballers have been warned by their own union that breaking Covid rules at this 'critical stage of the pandemic' will be hugely damaging for the game.

The PFA has spoken out after it emerged a shutdown of sport was discussed as part of the nation's new lockdown following revelations that top players were flouting the Covid restrictions all other citizens are expected to follow.

Senior figures in the game, public health experts and a broadcaster that screens top flight football have already condemned the actions of players who have ignored rules.

The PFA has said players breaking Covid rules may behugely damaging for the game. The statement comes as Gordon Taylor, the union's chief executive, agreed to fund twice-weekly Covid tests for the 72 clubs in the EFL to help stem the spread of the virus in the game

The PFA has said players breaking Covid rules may behugely damaging for the game. The statement comes as Gordon Taylor, the union's chief executive, agreed to fund twice-weekly Covid tests for the 72 clubs in the EFL to help stem the spread of the virus in the game

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Football, among other sports, has been allowed to continue despite the nationwide lockdown that curtails the activities of most people, as the government tries to halt an alarming rise in Covid infections and deaths fuelled by a new, highly contagious variant of the virus. 

However, high profile players from five Premier League clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, provoked fury across the country when they ignored strict Covid rules and attended and organised parties during the festive season.

Players in the Women’s Super League have also been criticised after three of Arsenal first-team players travelled to Dubai during the WSL’s winter break, after London moved into Tier 4 restrictions. One of them has since tested positive for Covid.

Three Spurs stars and a West Ham player (identified above) broke rules to party despite Covid-19 restrictions being in place over the Christmas period

Three Spurs stars and a West Ham player (identified above) broke rules to party despite Covid-19 restrictions being in place over the Christmas period

'In a close-knit football environment, the ramifications of any rule breaches are potentially hugely damaging for fellow players, clubs and the game as a whole,' the PFA said in a statement.

'It is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved that the vast majority of matches have gone ahead as scheduled and the risks to players, staff and their families have been well managed and kept to a minimum.'

Forty players and staff tested positive for the virus in the latest rounds of Premier League testing this week - more than double the week before - three games have been called off in the top tier and more than 50 matches have been postponed in the EFL with fears of more to come in the FA Cup third-round this weekend.

Manchester City left back Benjamin Mendy hosted a New Year's Eve party at his mansion

Pep Guardiola's decision to back Benjamin Mendy after he broke Covid rules angered fans

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 Pep Guardiola's decision to back Benjamin Mendy after he broke Covid rules angered fans

Women's football, which restarts on Saturday, also faces a slew of postponed matches after a number of players tested positive for Covid - most notably at Arsenal and Manchester City after their stars took holidays in Dubai during the winter break.

Both clubs have requested postponements.

The PFA called on players to set 'the right example to millions of fans and young people'.

'Your support has been a major factor in getting football up and running again, and we commend your collective efforts so far,' the union added in its statement.

Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic (left) was seen breaking Covid rules at a New Year’s Eve party with Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic (right)

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