I've tried to steer away from Covid related posts for a few weeks but with the international break coming up, something just doesn't make sense to me.
There hardly seems to be a day goes by when there isn't a report about football seeking exemptions from the 'new normal' which we all find ourselves living in, in the hope of saving each other's lives. To me, it all boils down to greed and selfishness, the air of immortality.
At this moment in time, the FA are in talks with the government, pleading to get permission to dodge the quarantine that any normal person would be fined up to £10,000 for and face a 10 year prison term, following their return from a qualifying match against Albania for next year's World Cup. Can this game not be moved to a time when travel restrictions are eased?
Does it HAVE to be played now? No.
Players should not be exempt from restrictions or indeed punishments for breaking the rules. The government seem to have left it to clubs to deal with but time and time again we see players breaking the rules for haircuts, tattoos, birthday parties, and the list goes on.
Clubs deal with it leniently because they don't want to upset their star player who can't follow simple rules, and should they be forced into quarantine, heaven forbid the club would be forced to play a couple of games without that player. Maybe if that happened, clubs and players would learn to follow the rules.
How can it be acceptable for players to fly, not just the England team, but virtually every other Premier League player, all around the world to covid stricken countries that could have any sort of mutations and bring them all back to our shores and stick us back into more restrictions?
Letting players hop on and off airplanes is putting the UK population at risk, just as we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and believe that mass vaccination will put an end to our domestic confinement. How can players be allowed to go and play in Albania, whilst we can't go 5 minutes down the road to see parents? Are these players classed as Key Workers? If so, what time and day do we stand on our doorstep clapping for them?
Looking at Albania's reported cases, they are on an upward trend, a second spike perhaps? We don't know what mutations or variants they may have but bringing it onto our shores wouldn't be a good idea.
Clubs have done as much as they can to make their stadiums as safe as they can, agreed, but that is still not enough until we have enough vaccinations and the R rate has come right down. It only takes 1 or 2 people and in a couple of weeks you can have a few thousand people infected.
Football is a great escape from the groundhog day that we find ourselves in, and like many others I have been grateful to be able to watch so much of it.
However, we do need to ask, would people feel as grateful for football if it became the root cause of a surge in infections and force yet another prolongation to the loss of our holidays, seeing loved ones, marriages, our social life and all the rest of our freedoms that we took for granted a littler over 12 months ago? No.
Aside from a personal point of view, lets look at it across a world football point.
Imagine if the England players are spared quarantine restrictions and other nationalities are not?
Think about the damage to an already questionable World Cup in Qatar next year if big clubs took advantage of the FIFA restrictions to ban their players from going to a World Cup. What kind of tournament would that be? Qatar 2022 already has enough of a bad reputation before it starts, it doesn't need to lose whole nations or star players.
All of these stadiums purpose built in Qatar, costing hundreds of lives already may only be played in behind closed doors, or without a number of nations or players.
Question the mayhem if proud Brazilians and Argentines currently playing in the Premier League – or elsewhere in Europe - defied their clubs and jetted off anyway to fight for their countries.
And we have to wonder how many England players would put patriotism before their employers if the government does decide to decline to issue that exemption.