A leading public health official in Italy has sparked controversy by saying Cristiano Ronaldo and his fellow Serie A players should all receive an early Covid-19 vaccination.
Virologist Professor Matteo Bassetti believes that if leading footballers get the jab now, not only will Serie A be able to continue uninterrupted but it would help convince sceptics to get vaccinated.
But his comments sparked a huge backlash with Italy's vaccine programme already trailing behind most of Europe with many elderly and sick people still waiting for their first dose.
In an Instagram post, leading virologist Prof. Matteo Bassetti suggested all Serie A players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, should get an early Covid-19 vaccinationInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
His suggestion was that Ronaldo and other high-profile players would convince sceptics to go and get the vaccine - but there was a fierce backlash to his plan
As of March 2, only 7.5 out of every 100 Italians had received the jab - compared to over 30 per 100 in the United Kingdom.
Footballers in their 20s and 30s are at a significantly lower risk of contracting Covid-19 than the elderly and those vulnerable through medical conditions. There are around 600 players at the 20 Serie A clubs.
It comes after Tuesday night's Serie A match between Lazio and Torino at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome descended into farce.
The Torino squad was instructed by local health authorities to quarantine after registering eight cases of the British variant of coronavirus.
But the Serie A council unanimously decided in a meeting on Tuesday that the game should go ahead as planned. That left Lazio's players and staff hanging around at the stadium despite knowing their opponents were 430 miles away.
A graph showing the total number of vaccines administered in European countries per 100 people, up to March 2. The UK has vaccinated around 30 per cent of its population, but in Italy this is only around 7.5 per cent.
Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Lazio's home match against Torino ended in farce after the visitors failed to show up
Inzaghi's squad arrived at the ground, ready to play, while their opponents remained at home
Prof. Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic at the San Martino Hospital in Genoa, posted his proposal on his Instagram account along with a