Politicians copy footballers by covering mouths at summits

Politics is the kind of business where you need to know how to keep a secret.

And politicians have been increasingly emulating sports stars in a bid to dodge lip readers at Brussels summits.

Footballers have been habitually covering their mouths as they talk to each other for years, to avoid their words being caught by TV cameras. 

Doubles tennis players and baseball teams also take the evasive action for fear of opponents anticipating their tactics.

The technique has now well and truly spread to politics, with EU leaders among those photographed whispering furtively behind their hands.

It was memorably deployed by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron at a summit in October to mask their discussions with Theresa May.

The mouth-covering technique was memorably deployed by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron at a summit in October to mask their discussions with Theresa May (pictured)

The mouth-covering technique was memorably deployed by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron at a summit in October to mask their discussions with Theresa May (pictured)

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has also adopted the secretive pose. He is pictured on the phone during a meeting in Brussels in November 

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has also adopted the secretive pose. He is pictured on the phone during a meeting in Brussels in November 

Manchester United star Paul Pogba (left) deployed his shirt as s shield as he muttered to Leicester's Riyad Mahrez at the end of a game in August

star Paul Pogba (left) deployed his shirt as s shield as he muttered to Leicester's Riyad Mahrez at the end of a game in August

The image of the German and French premiers huddled around the PM as they arrived at the venue together sparked widespread mockery on social media - with speculation rife over what gossip they were passing on.

Aides insisted they were in fact talking about the Iran nuclear deal.

It is far from the only time Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel have been pictured behaving conspiratorially.

Last month they were at it again - engaging in a muffled conversation during a 'family photo' for EU leaders in the Belgian capital.

The bloc's chief Brexit negotiator Michel

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