Serie A EPL

Italy’s Serie A has posted an impressive 98 per cent vaccination rate for all players and staff, in stark contrast to the English Premier League who are still struggling to convince their stars to get a jab.

According to La Repubblica, there are just 20 people across the Italian top flight who are yet be vaccinated against coronavirus with five of those from the same club.

Those who have been vaccinated are no longer required to be tested every 48 hours but those 20 who are not jabbed must continue to undergo testing if they are to be involved in training and matches.

While AC Milan, Udinese and Sassuolo have not given Serie A official data, figures show there are ‘at least’ seven Serie A clubs with 100 per cent vaccination rates.

However, there is one unnamed club that has as many as five people refusing to get jabbed.

One of the players refusing to be vaccinated said it was because of ‘religious reasons’ while another had been swayed by ‘information his wife had found online’.

It was announced recently that Serie A matches will be allowed to be played in front of 75 per cent capacity crowds after starting the season with a limit of 50 per cent.

The Italian government altered rules in August to allow a ‘checkerboard’ seating pattern in the first few weeks of the season, with one free seat between each spectator in each row.

Previously, regulations allowed 50 per cent capacity crowds but enforced a one-metre distance between fans, which logistically meant that most stadiums could only be filled to around 30 per cent capacity.

Serie A’s vaccination figures come 24 hours after the Bundesliga revealed their own vaccination rate among players and coaching staff stands at 94 per cent.

Clubs such as Hertha Berlin have told their players who are reluctant to get the jab they will have to foot the bill for their twice-weekly PCR tests going forward.

Bundesliga chief Christian Seifert described the almost complete take-up of the coronavirus vaccine as ‘pretty good’, emphasising ‘there is a lot at stake, it makes good sense.’

And Seifert, who is the CEO of the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) and vice president of the German FA, told Bild Live: ‘Everyone can decide for themselves, but you also have a professional responsibility for yourself and your body.

‘This is how you earn your money. I have little understanding if you don’t get vaccinated.’

But the Premier League cannot claim to have similar figures because take-up of the vaccine among its players has been poor, despite 78 per cent of over-12s being double-jabbed in the UK.

The league hasn’t released official figures but the BBC reported that an email sent to the 20 top-flight clubs clubs in September read: ‘Only seven clubs’ squads are more than 50 per cent fully vaccinated.’

Wolves confirmed 100 per cent of their players and staff have been fully vaccinated with two doses, while Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said ’99 per cent’ of his players were vaccinated.

However, it appears many other Premier League clubs are struggling to convince their players to get jabbed amid a proliferation of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories.

The Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said at the beginning of August he hoped the ‘vast majority’ of players would be vaccinated by the end of the month.

That followed a virtual meeting with Premier League captains in which the deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, and the Premier League medical officer, Mark Gillett, in which they addressed the myths circulating among players.

But take-up has remained sluggish. Aside from Wolves and Liverpool, only Leeds and Brentford have revealed the vast majority of players and staff are vaccinated with at least one jab.

The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that a quarter of EFL footballers have no intention of getting the vaccine.

It is understood that some players are reluctant to get vaccinated against the disease because their youth and level of fitness mean they are unlikely to suffer should they contract it.

They are also concerned by stories of people suffering heart inflammation after taking the vaccine, even though official medical agencies have reported such cases as ‘very rare’.

England boss Gareth Southgate recently admitted he is unsure how many of his current squad have received both doses before Roma’s Tammy Abraham revealed he is double-jabbed.

Mason Mount announced on Monday that he had also been vaccinated but team-mates Phil Foden, Fikayo Tomori and Jesse Lingard refused to comment when asked.


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