Will government blow the whistle on football after outrage at FA Cup matches

Labour today piled more pressure on Boris Johnson to shut down professional football after players flouted Covid-19 rules again and were accused of losing the 'moral' case to continue as cases rise and the NHS struggles to cope.

Social distancing was abandoned at FA Cup games amid wild celebrations in packed dressing rooms at Chorley and Crawley after their giant-killings over the weekend.

Hundreds of fans also gathered outside non-league Marine's ground on Merseyside yesterday to welcome Spurs before their 5-0 drubbing, with Jose Mourinho filming the packed pavements where many were not wearing face coverings.

And the FA has launched an inquiry following Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze’s appearance at QPR’s cup tie against Fulham without wearing a mask and the authorities insist they did not give the green light for him to attend.

There is ‘growing frustration’ among ministers, who have fought for football after a series of incidents during the festive period in which players from Tottenham, West Ham and Manchester City organised and attended Christmas parties when the rest of the UK was told not to mix. 

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Labour’s shadow sports minister Alison McGovern told Sportsmail: ‘Sport in this country has taken huge measures to ensure games can go ahead and players and fans are kept safe. But it’s clear that with cases rising across the country, this is becoming increasingly difficult'.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also hinted towards calling for a sport shut down today when he said it was ‘extraordinary’ that current lockdown measures are not as strict as they were last spring. 

With football on the brink, it also emerged today:   

Boris Johnson today warned he is ready to tighten lockdown further as he voiced fears that vaccines have made people 'complacent' about obeying rules despite the NHS being on the brink of disaster; Two million Brits have received a coronavirus vaccine as ministers suggested they could set up a round-the-clock jab programme if the public wanted it; CMO Chris Whitty says that despite mass vaccinations there will still be months of restrictions; Supermarkets are told to bring back limit on number of customers amid new fears over lockdown rule-breaking;

Huge crowds turned out to welcome Spurs to non-league Marine on Merseyside yesterday where social distancing was abandoned for a match where no fans were allowed inside

Huge crowds turned out to welcome Spurs to non-league Marine on Merseyside yesterday where social distancing was abandoned for a match where no fans were allowed inside

Chorley's players gave the biggest rendition of Adele's 'Someone Like You' yet on Saturday - the scenes have been met with anger amid increasing pressure on the PM to stop elite football

Chorley's players gave the biggest rendition of Adele's 'Someone Like You' yet on Saturday - the scenes have been met with anger amid increasing pressure on the PM to stop elite football

The home dressing room all took part before launching into what has become their anthem

The players celebrated in the changing rooms and were filmed drinking a few beers

The Chorley players celebrated in the changing rooms and were filmed drinking a few beers 

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Crawley players including former TOWIE star Mark Wright (centre) enjoyed their victory over Premier League opposition, Leeds, winning 3-0, but again covid-19 guidance was not adhered to

Crawley players including former TOWIE star Mark Wright (centre) enjoyed their victory over Premier League opposition, Leeds, winning 3-0, but again covid-19 guidance was not adhered to

Tottenham stars Sergio Reguilon (left), Erik Lamela (bottom left), Giovani Lo Celso (top second right) and West Ham's Manuel Lanzini (top third right) broke Covid-19 rules by spending Christmas together, and they posted this picture of Christmas Day

Tottenham stars Sergio Reguilon (left), Erik Lamela (bottom left), Giovani Lo Celso (top second right) and West Ham's Manuel Lanzini (top third right) broke Covid-19 rules by spending Christmas together, and they posted this picture of Christmas Day

Crystal Palace player, and former QPR midfielder Eberechi Eze watched QPR’s cup tie against Fulham (pictured) without wearing a mask and the authorities insist they did not give the green light for him to attend in yet another blunder

Crystal Palace player, and former QPR midfielder Eberechi Eze watched QPR’s cup tie against Fulham (pictured) without wearing a mask and the authorities insist they did not give the green light for him to attend in yet another blunder

Celtic in Covid chaos with THIRTEEN players and boss Neil Lennon forced to isolate after a team-mate tested positive on return from Dubai trip 

The Scottish champions visited the Middle East as part of a warm weather training camp

The Scottish champions visited the Middle East as part of a warm weather training camp  

Celtic have been rocked by the news 13 players and three members of their coaching staff have been forced to isolate after their controversial trip to Dubai, on the day they are meant to play Hibernian.

Celtic spent six days in the UAE, where pictures emerged showing members of the squad not distancing or wearing face coverings. After being tested upon their return to Glasgow, they had one positive case in defender Christopher Jullien, who is currently injured for the next four months. Manager Neil Lennon and assistant John Kennedy are among those now isolating.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who had questioned whether Celtic were following social distancing rules, said on Monday: 'Elite sport has privileges and these privileges can't be abused. I hope Celtic reflect seriously.'

Celtic insist their Monday fixture against Hibs will go ahead but the news emerges on the day that football across Scotland underneath the top two divisions was halted in an attempt to curb the ongoing rise in Covid-19 cases.

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Last week the Premier League recorded 40 Covid cases and the EFL a further 112, in its first full round of testing since November. 

Medical experts have said that unless celebrations on and off the pitch are stopped then professional football should be stopped - as the plug was pulled on the game below the top two divisions in Scotland. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also told football clubs not to 'abuse' their privileges after Celtic jetted off to Dubai for a training camp. Quarantine exemption rules for elite sportsmen and women will be reviewed after a Celtic player tested positive for coronavirus, it emerged today.   

A senior government source said last night that Downing Street is keen to let elite sport continue - but the weekend of blunders isn't helping their case with the footage from Crawley, Marine and Chorley were viewed with horror in Whitehall, according to The Times

James Calder, the independent chairman of the government's committee on the return of elite sport, said the sport had to be more vigilant.

"Just because you have a negative test one day doesn't mean you won't have COVID the next day and be infectious," Calder told the newspaper.

"You need to keep your guard up ... that's not just players but all staff, outside the clubs and training grounds as well."

The Premier League wrote to its clubs on Friday making it clear that hugging after goals and hand shakes before and after matched are banned. The EFL has also strengthened its guidance to clubs.

But some have claimed elite sport is now on a knife-edge after scenes at the weekend. 

Footage from Chorley, who knocked out Derby County, and at Crawley Town, who defeated Leeds, showed the players celebrating enthusiastically after the match with songs and Champagne

At Chorley, the players were recorded belting out the

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