IN the week Kieran Trippier and Edinson Cavani were both banned, the FA have declared they will not be taking any action against players breaching Covid restrictions.
Talk about getting your priorities straight in a time of crisis.
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Trippier has been suspended for a mammoth ten matches because he told a mate to 'lump on' him joining Atletico Madrid.
And Cavani is missing three Manchester United games for using an inappropriate word on social media.
Without wishing to trivialise either offence, surely both pale into insignificance when compared to the reckless behaviour of those players who wilfully broke coronavirus regulations over the festive period.
They haven’t just brought the game into disrepute, they have jeopardised its very existence.
And if that isn’t worthy of punishment, then I don’t know what is.
Cavani appears to be the only South American in the Premier League who hasn’t tested positive for coronavirus as a result of attending a lockdown party in recent weeks.
Most were only caught because they were dumb enough to post pictures of celebrations on WhatsApp.
But you can bet your life that they are just the tip of the idiot iceberg because there are probably hundreds more lower-league players who don’t have a social media following but have also been flouting the rules.
As a result it appears that football is in danger of throwing its doors wide open to the pandemic which has already led to 52 games in the EFL being postponed this season.
Now it’s the FA’s own flagship competition feeling the effects as Derby take a youth team to Chorley for tomorrow’s Cup third-round tie and Shrewsbury’s game at Southampton has been postponed.
Non-League Notts County, Boston United and Kettering have had to withdraw from the competition after viral outbreaks.
Now that the PFA have belatedly agreed to fund regular testing in the EFL, it is almost inevitable there will be plenty more postponements coming.
Which makes it all the more concerning managers such as Pep Guardiola have been defending the behaviour of the miscreants.
The Manchester City boss threw his toys out of the pram last week as Everton failed to wish his players a speedy recovery from the virus.
Yet he still refused to condemn Benjamin Mendy’s New Year’s bash despite a number of his team-mates testing positive.
Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic had to issue an apology and make a donation to a local charity for a similar offence.
Eagles boss Roy Hodgson now says he will drop players who fail to follow all the procedures.
But you still suspect that many managers will only start to take this issue seriously if players are banned and results are affected.
That is why the FA can’t leave it to clubs to discipline players failing to adhere to the protocols that have allowed elite football to continue when most other industries have been shut down.
The game just about survived one spell in lockdown. Some teams will not survive another.
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