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Premier League stars in for rude awakening if they continue to shun Covid vaccine – John Cross

A host of Premier League stars are yet to be vaccinated despite the country being encouraged to do so but their protective bubbles will not protect them from the rules faced by others

Footballers are in for a rude shock if they continue to refuse to get the Covid vaccination.

England stars live in luxurious world of bubbles, private jets and charter planes with their Premier League clubs.

But English-based players flying off to play for their different nations in this month’s World Cup qualifiers are not always so well closeted and often get commercial flights.

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel even flew back on a budget airline when Denmark played England in Copenhagen in 2020 and some of his international team-mates did the same.

But while many airlines insist upon proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test, that may not protect footballers from having to self-isolate when they return from international duty.

The vaccine status of the majority of Premier League stars remains unknown

At least two planes flying to London from Turin last week – containing dozens of Chelsea fans plus the entire BT Sport crew, pundits and commentary team – got pinged after positive tests.

Travellers who had double jabbed were fine as long as they got an extra PCR test but if they had not had the vaccine then they would have to self-isolate.

Prem stars will also face similar issues next summer when they want to go on luxury foreign holidays which could be a game changer.

It was hoped that FIFA’s agreement with the Government for players flying to red list countries would also hasten the push for more to get jabbed because it came with the caveat of them needing to be vaccinated.

But Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has already warned that Thiago Silva – who is reporting up for Brazil – will miss his club’s first game back at Brentford on Saturday week.

Premier League stars Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Phil Foden are among the investors involved in one of football’s biggest success stories.

They are backers of STATSports, the leading GPS data company which was founded in 2008 with just three clients Arsenal, Manchester United and Leinster Rugby and last year doubled its revenue and now has 500 teams across 60 countries.

The success story now has a new chapter with a unique link-up with Arsenal which allows players of all levels and abilities to sign up to STATSports Arsenal Edition and use the exact same black pod as used by the first team.

The pod captures data from the player after every session including total distance, max speeds, high speed running distance, intensity and fatigue levels. That data is then housed within the individual’s phone so they can track progress and it is also referred back to the club’s database.

Arsenal’s Academy Manager Per Mertesacker, said: “We’re really excited by this partnership. STATSports have played a key role in developing the physical performance of our players for more than a decade.

“The fact aspiring players are now able to benchmark themselves against players at Arsenal by using The STATSports Arsenal FC Edition pod is a big step forward for the club.”

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the Premier League has helped increase its popularity in his native Portugal

Eleven Portugal have secured a three-year deal to show every Premier League game from 2022-23.

It is another coup for the English top flight which has maintained its value in broadcasting terms while Europe’s other top leagues have struggled.

Eleven is part of Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani’s Aser Ventures Group and will show all 380 games each season while Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence at Manchester United has only served to increase the Prem’s popularity in Portugal.

Former Bournemouth duo Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall gave a big hint they are ready to return to management by visiting St George’s Park this week.

Ex-Cherries boss Howe, and former assistant Tindall who also had a stint in charge, were invited to watch England training this week and spoke to their former goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale who is now at Arsenal.

Howe has been among the bookies’ favourites to take over at Newcastle and, after coming close to getting the Celtic job, there is no doubt that he wants to get back in.

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