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EFL Statement on Covid-19 Protocols

In light of the increased transmission rate of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, the EFL has moved to implement a regime of enhanced training ground protocols, increased testing and has provided updated guidance on the minimum number of available players that are required to fulfil a fixture.

All 72 Clubs will now be required to implement enhanced RED protocols for first team training settings. Social distancing measures will be required outside of physical sessions, along with restrictions to the use of indoor facilities, manual therapy and group travel, amongst others. The RED protocols can be accessed in full here.

As part of the enhanced guidance, Clubs will be expected to implement a daily screening programme of testing, subject to supply chain availability of Lateral Flow tests. Any person with a positive test of symptoms will then be required to take a PCR test and isolate in line with Government guidance.

In respect of the screening programme, the EFL will not be providing a weekly aggregate report on number of tests undertaken and the number of positive results. The rationale behind this decision is due to the volume of testing taking place that, depending on circumstances, may vary from club-to-club, alongside the rolling nature of the programme. The EFL will confirm the circumstances where positive tests lead to a postponement of a fixture.

In the wake of recent EFL fixture postponements due to COVID-19 cases at Clubs, the EFL has also provided guidance on non-fulfilment of fixtures, confirming that Clubs will be expected to play where it has 14 players including a goalkeeper available from the Club’s registered squad list, Under 21 players not on the squad list but have played one League match, or any other contracted player not on the squad list but otherwise would have been eligible to play. The EFL will assist Clubs in their deliberations.  

This guidance has been designed to help Clubs ensure the safety of players and staff, while ensuring that the fixture schedule can be maintained wherever possible. Where any Club states it cannot fulfil a fixture, a report shall be filed with the EFL, and the circumstances reviewed.  

On vaccination, the EFL is encouraging all eligible players and staff to get fully vaccinated and a booster jab to help protect colleagues and minimise the risk of fixtures being postponed. The EFL will also be supporting the Government’s ‘Get Boosted Now’ campaign over the coming weeks.

The latest vaccine data collated for November has shown that 75% of players across the EFL are either fully vaccinated, have had a single jab or intend to be vaccinated. Double vaccinated players total 59%, 16% are set to get the jab, while 25% of players currently do not intend to get a vaccine.

Commenting, the EFL’s Medical Advisor, Dr Richard Higgins said:

“Further to enhanced medical guidance recently issued, in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases and subsequent fixtures postponements in recent days, the EFL has opted to strengthen its protocols for all Clubs to help minimise the health risks to individuals while seeking to mitigate against the threat of further fixture postponements in the weeks ahead.

“Alongside enhanced protocols which includes mandatory testing ahead of matchdays, the EFL continues to strongly encourage players and staff at Clubs to get fully vaccinated and obtain a booster jab if eligible to do so.

“We know that getting double jabbed and boosted now will reduce the risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19, reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 amongst team-mates and loved ones, while helping protect against COVID-19 variants including Omicron.”



  • A question. Should teams unable to fulfil fixtures because of numbers testing positive be penalised if their players/staff are not vaccinated? I think I read 70% of players are not vaccinated. This to me seems reckless in the current situation.

    O.K. fair enough it's a personal choice but, seems akin to some other situations where teams unable to fulfil a fixture forfeit the result.

  • It is a personal choice, but for me not one based on caring about others.

    I'm fully vaccinated. No, I don't know "what's in it". Neither this vaccine or the ones I had as a child. Nor do I know what's in the 11 secret herbs and spices at KFC.

    I also don't know exactly what's in Ibuprofen or Nurofen  -- they just cure my headaches & my pains.

    I don't know what's in tattoo ink, botox and fillers, or every ingredient in my soap, shampoo or deodorants. I don’t know the long term effect of mobile phone use, or whether or not that restaurant I just ate at REALLY used clean foods and washed their hands.

    There's a lot of things I don't know.

    I do know one thing: life is short. Very short. And I, personally, still want to do things. I want to travel and hug people without fear, and find a little feeling of life "before".

    Throughout my life I've been vaccinated against many diseases. Measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox, hepatitis, influenza, tetanus, I trusted the science, and never had to suffer through or transmit any of those said diseases.

    I'm fully vaccinated and boostered.

    Not to please the government.

    Not to make other people do it.

    But I don't want to:

    * die from Covid-19

    * clutter a hospital bed if I get sick

    * not be able to hug my loved ones

    * live my life in fear

    moorlandsdeekayJackaremeMalcColin_swanseaFledgeWpsGingergitRhydianbarryand 3 others.
  • StephenR

    Nice post. Hope you don't think I'm being rude................but you're not a politician are you? (not answering a question) Would be interesting if any body agrees on penalising certain teams.

  • BSJ no problem, was just commenting on your final paragraph, but with regard to penalising teams,

    I don't think so, as you say it is an individuals choice. It is up to the club to educate their players and to decide on their position with regard yo whether they select them etc. I guess market forces will out, in the short-term, but that's the issue in this world, everything is short-terminism, without concern for the impact on the future. I think it is highly possible that some clubs will go the wall

  • Being a professional footballer is a privilege not a right, so while getting vaccinated may well by law be a personal choice (unlike a lot of vaccines children have to get to attend school), it's not one a sport needs to accommodate if it's bad for the running of that sport. The last thing the league wants is games continually being called off.

    English football is well behind its continental counterparts for vaccinations. Spain, Italy, Germany etc. are all above 90% afaik. Here for some reason we have 25% saying "definitely not" and another 25% still considering it.

  • Between 2009 and 2020 the average number of deaths on the pitch due to cardiac arrest was 7.9 people per year. So far this year that number is 22. Maybe that influenced their decision. STID

  • I have to say it's big coincidence that these matches are being called off when they trying to install fear with the new variant. Where are the supermarkets being shut because of these massive outbreaks.

  • super markets are essenstial for people to eat soccer is nothing of the sort and its not trying to install fear its a reality that people are dying and getting VERY ill

  • WpsWps
    edited December 2021

    We will soon be going back to social distancing in supermarkets. Probably limited numbers in store. We have continued to wear masks in enclosed spaces.

    Football will close down once again and should have earlier this week.

    Personally as a recently retired NHS Worker of 42 years I fail to understand the reluctance of people to get vaccinated especially those who feel the whole pandemic is one big conspiracy.

    I don’t know what your views are Joking fan but if you’ve been anywhere near a hospital in the last two years you would realise there is much to fear

  • hear hear Wps

  • If only the opinion of qualified cardiologists had influence. I'm sure Facebook knows better though, innit.

  • So what are you saying ?what is the point you are trying to make ?

  • I don’t understand the failure to understand the reluctance to have a vaccination on the grounds of the risks involved. The mantra whenever there has been a death directly as a result of the vaccination is that the effects of having the vaccine far outweigh the risks of taking it. As they aren’t able to say categorically that there is no risk involved then I can understand why there is a hesitancy within the UK population. More than one death as a result of an adverse reaction to the vaccination is enough to put people off. No conspiracy just a situation where some take a step back and question how safe that which they’re being asked to have injected into their bodies actually is.

  • So what are you trying to say????

    That the vaccination has something to do with the higher deaths/cardiac arrest in 2021

    Unless you have the data, whether any of those 22 have had the vaccination and been the cause of their cardiac arrest/deaths. Then what I believe you are trying to insinuate, is utter hypocrisy

  • Because risk of side effects is in the 1/100,000-1,000,000 region, while risk of death from covid is nearer 1/1,000-10,000.

    It's stepping out into the road because no one can claim there is categorically no risk of getting hurt on the pavement.

  • Granted Jasper. Although the risk of having complications as the result of contracting Covid in certain groups is almost negligible. In the younger age groups it’s highly unlikely that you would die from the symptoms that are suffered and they would usually only manifest as the common cold as I understand it. The data hasn’t been publicised as to how many have died directly from the vaccine. We’re in the dark with regards to those stats except for the odd story that turns up every once in a while where someone has been unfortunate enough to die from complications that arise from tracking the vaccine. Sometimes it only has to take one article such as these to start a wave of anxiety and worry in some.

  • What also needs to be considered. That although the chances are slim of the young dying if they catch the virus. But they still can pass the virus onto the older and not so old part of the population of this country. Who then could pass away

    The present population of the U.K. is around about 67 million. The number of people that have died of Covid in the U.K. is around about 147k. Now if you do the simple maths it comes out as 1 in 455.

  • We're recording over 1,000 excess deaths per week in England and Wales at the moment, and have been since early/mid September. If 1 or 2 were to die as a direct result of getting vaccinated then I'm sure the already-sceptical would feel justified, but it wouldn't make their stance any less selfish/immoral/stupid.

    We stopped giving the Astra vaccine to younger people based on side effects that occurred in a relative handful of people. It's nonsense to suggest we're completely "in the dark" about the effects and dangers, a lot of people are paying very close attention. It's a fantastic global accomplishment to have produced a range of variants of the vaccine in the time we did, so that when there was potentially a 1 in 1,000,000+ chance that the Astra might cause a problem for under 40s, we moved straight over to the Moderna.

  • People die from the small pox vaccine but this disease which has been around for thousands of years was eradicated. That was considered a major human achievement.

    When you are younger you feel immortal. You take risks you never would in later life. That’s fine as long as it doesn’t kill other people.

    Most now accept that it is right you can’t smoke in a public place such as a pub because of the effect of your actions on other people’s health.

    When COVID emerged you got a feeling of people looking out for one and other. How soon that evaporated. We have quickly returned to the “me first society “

  • I couldn’t agree more in what you have just written. You only have to look at the numbers catching Covid in the last week or so in England alone, of up in the 80k-to 90k per day.I can honestly see another lock down coming in the next couple of days as what’s happening on the continent already. I will be very surprised if we will be watching football for some time again and will be amazed if there are any games over Christmas and the New Year

  • Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the greater good & the people around you. Two World Wars show that, surely, even if the First World War was the biggest cock-up in living history

  • You have hit the nail right on it’s head with that last statement. When I look back when I was young. The community spirit was always there. That if someone was down at heel, they could always guarantee there would be someone there to help. From buckets of coal to firewood and having some home cooking from other people around in where they lived and other items such as fresh vegetables in the summer. Now as you say, too many are only interested in themselves

  • The vaccine (singular) was heralded as the big game changer that would usher everyone out of and prevent further lockdowns. Why, when the vaccination rollout has been such a success story, are we facing the prospect of another lockdown potentially?

    Each year there are 147407 cancer deaths. Why isn’t this big news and the horror of that figure publicised when the number is give or take a few hundred practically the same figure as that of Covid deaths?

    I feel there is a too much of a fixation with one disease over another at the expense of the other if, what we are led to believe, cancer patients are finding it difficult to get the treatment they need and the diagnosis rate of cancer has been adversely affected.

    What the NHS says about smoking and the consequent death rates, makes for grim reading.

    “Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK.

    Every year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking, with many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses.”

    And yet the impact these people have on NHS services is accepted as par for the course.

    These deaths are preventable and, even though the individual has brought it upon themselves, we treat their diseases and ailments as part and parcel of everyday life. As one of those things that people just shrug their shoulders at.

    I don’t see why there is a determination to besmirch the character of those people who have, for whatever reason, chosen not to be vaccinated, whilst the actions of people such as smokers, aren’t seen equally as pariahs of society.

    The use of words such as immoral or selfish are very loaded words that target a specific group of people unfairly. There are other actions which people do that can be categorised equally as being immoral/selfish/stupid and smoking is one of them.

  • I have never understood why people want to smoke. I’m sure that if God wanted people to smoke, he would have stuck a chimney on everyones head.

    How can people be so stupid, as to spend something around the £10 mark for a 20 packet of cigarettes. For that item to go up in smoke and at the same time to destroy their quality of life

    An absolute disgusting habit

  • Cancer isn't contagious. That's why it's not the same thing. It doesn't spread unseen from person to person in close proximity.

    Not that we don't make a massive deal out of cancer, with constant campaigns for fundraising for cures/support charities. I had the moustache last month to prove it.

    Smoking is banned almost everywhere these days. We have not accepted the effects "as par for the course". Laws have been introduced to protect people from the harmful effects of your smoking, just like we've introduced them to protect people from the harmful effects of your covid.

  • What about children whose parents smoke in the household? Passive smoking still goes on big time.

  • What I am also saying is that the health issues that arise from smoking are completely preventable.

    The smoker simply has to quit smoking or not start the habit at all. Therefore there is a moral judgement that the smoker makes when starting up as an addict.

    Do they begin to smoke thus putting the health of themselves and others at risk or do they stop and think of the implications and consequences of their actions? The health issues of smoking are after all completely preventable and avoidable.

    These days, if you start smoking, it can be seen quite easily as selfish behaviour. The moment you start is the moment that you become a burden on the NHS unnecessarily. Any ailments or diseases that occur from that point on that are known to be directly related to smoking can be seen as the smokers own fault.

    The deaths through passive smoking haven’t magically disappeared since the measures to curb smoking and prevent passive smoking either.

    An article in the Independent puts the total deaths per year due to passive smoking at 3800.

    ”In the UK, almost 3,800 deaths a year are attributable to passive smoking and, given that enclosed public smoking is banned, most of these will have been as a result of exposure to smoking at home.”

    Needless to say that the vast majority of these deaths are likely to be children but also spouses or partners of the smoker(s).

    So with all the data that’s out there can the smoker or the person about to become a smoker be labelled stupid as well? I would hazard a guess at that as being a resounding yes.

    So what’s to be done seeing as you are legally allowed to euthanise yourself by taking up the habit of smoking? My opinion is it should be made illegal outright. No longer should the Government allow people to put an unnecessary burden on the NHS or to kill anyone else especially children of all ages. This deadly habit needs to be dealt a killer blow once and for all.

  • WpsWps
    edited December 2021

    In response to Sea Jack’s post

    In this country we put the emphasis on secondary care . We spend the money on treating people with disease rather than spending a greater percentage of health care money on primary care eg prevention.

    It would make more sense to encourage people not to smoke , drink , over eat the wrong food, take harmful drugs.

    We don’t do this because politicians say they don’t want a “ Nanny state” ( very middle class term) and people believe it is their right to live their lives how they choose regardless of the consequences.

    This pandemic is the first time government has had no choice but to intervene and tell people how to behave in terms of public health safety.

    The vaccines have never made us immune to COVID. It has reduced our chances of catching the virus and reduced the severity of symptoms if we contract it.

    Covid like influenza is here to stay. It will continue to kill vulnerable people but will come under control providing people get vaccinated. As long as large numbers remain unvaccinated there is a host for the virus.

    The Spanish Flu pandemic of just over 100 years ago killed millions worldwide and took 2-3 years to get under control.

    Congratulations to the Welsh government making the sensible decision for sport to play behind closed doors from Boxing day. Chances are these games may well be postponed yet due to further outbreaks amongst players . Thank you for acting in the interest of the people and their health because there is no way you can safely social distance in a full football stadium.

    This gives us more time for people to get triple vaccinated and allow that third vaccine to kick in because we are playing catch up and we are 2-3 weeks behind the new strain at the moment.

  • And transmission of covid among families isn't effected by these rules and regulations either. There's no double standard here no matter how hard you try to make it sound like one exists. Cancer is taken very seriously. Smoking is subject to all sorts of taxes and laws designed to limit its damaging impact on society. People who choose to smoke, especially around children/vulnerable people are not celebrated in modern society.

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