Pep Guardiola has said his Manchester City side will find it difficult to follow the Premier League’s new protocols regarding goal celebrations.
Earlier this week, Sky Sports News reports confirmed in The temperature that the Premier League and PGMOL have written to match officials, telling them to discuss specifically with the captains and coaches what is expected of them in the match.
The referees have been informed to remind players of the need to maintain social distancing as much as possible during matches and when celebrating goals.
It comes as league officials are increasingly concerned about breaches of coronavirus protocols and the lack of social distancing – especially when celebrating goals – leaves football open to criticism and vulnerable to a possible change in government policy, where the game could be interrupted.
Talk after City win against Brighton on Wednesday, in which Phil Foden scored the winner and celebrated with the majority of his teammates, Guardiola admitted that it is “difficult” to follow protocols because celebrating is an “instinct”.
“We will follow what the Premier League says but I don’t know if we will get there,” Guardiola said.
“I respect Premier League protocols. I fully understand what they’re trying to do. When we’re on the inside, everyone respects social distancing. We have to do it. But outside, on the training ground, after being tested several times, in the real moment of joy, [hugging] is instinct and reaction. It’s difficult. I don’t know if we will get there. “
Parker: I’ll remind the Fulham players
Meanwhile, Fulham head coach Scott Parker said he would remind his team of the protocols after several players celebrated their tie together in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham.
“I feel like I’m probably going to do it,” Parker said, when asked if he will speak with his players about the celebrations.
“I did not notice and I did not see him again. At the same time, I have sympathy for the players. We still play football, these players are still judged, I am judged, the football clubs get tried.
“At the same time, of course, I understand the situation and the protocols at play. Of course, that’s a conversation I will have with the players.”
Arteta echoes Guardiola’s concerns
The latest change follows new protocols established by the Premier League last week, which included a ban on players and managers shaking hands, hugging or swapping shirts.
The Premier League have not discussed the possibility of a circuit cutout for the season despite the growing number of positive cases.
Guardiola, along with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, had warned earlier this week that players will find it difficult to control their emotions to follow advice to celebrate goals.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor last week called on players to tone down their celebrations, to adhere to a set of strengthened coronavirus protocols that emphasize the need to maintain a safe distance and avoid handshakes and shirt swapping.
“I read them, the new protocols,” Guardiola said. “We will follow them. But when a guy scores a goal, I don’t know if he can be controlled and not celebrate it.
“All of us [involved on match days] are tested negative every other day. I don’t know what’s going to happen – but a guy scores a goal, the joy of celebrating it, I don’t know if he’s going to think, “I can’t hug my mate for two, three seconds” .
“One guy is isolated and the squad has to keep going. So I don’t know. We follow what people say at the club, the Premier League. We follow the rules. That’s what it is.
“Aston Villa had 10 single players plus the manager. So I don’t know.”
Arteta, speaking ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Crystal Palace on Thursday, live on Sky Sports, also said the players would not focus on the distancing rules in the intensity of matches.
“Controlling the emotions when you are going at 200 mph in a game full of things going on around you is very difficult to control,” said Arteta.
“We ask our players, in the corners for example, to mark people and push them, and then we can’t hit anyone or say hello to anyone.
“It’s getting a little controversial and hard to understand.”
EFL warns rule-breaking football risks government wrath
Football will come under extreme pressure from the government to shut down if clubs “continue to flout the rules” on limiting the spread of the coronavirus, EFL chief executive Trevor Birch has warned.
Elite sport has been allowed to continue despite the country being placed in a new national lockdown designed to slow the rate of Covid-19 infections in the UK.
However, a number of incidents on and off the field, as well as an increase in the rates of positive tests among players, means that professional gaming is more closely watched than ever by the government and the public.
“Throughout the pandemic, football has provided a glimmer of hope for millions of people affected by the restrictions, but we all understand football watching and we will be under extreme government pressure if
we continue to flout the rules, ”he said in a letter to the clubs.
There have been high-profile cases of Covid protocols being violated by EFL clubs over the FA Cup third round weekend.
QPR admitted they should not have allowed ex-player Eberechi Eze to witness their draw against Fulham, while Crawley’s exuberant celebrations of their thwarted victory over Leeds also stymied social distancing rules.
“Although football is allowed to continue, the actions of all participants will be clearly under the microscope, whether in technical areas, shelters, or in relation to general behavior and interaction between players on the pitch. and the staff outside, ”Birch added.