Blues boss slammed members of government and the media for their harsh portrayal of how the sport is handling the pandemic
Frank Lampard responded to the increased pressure on ‘brainless’ footballers to stop hugging during goal celebrations as football comes under closer scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic.
Outside of football, the new strain of Covid-19 has led to an increase in cases and deaths, leading to a third UK-wide lockdown.
The sport continued to function, albeit with toughened protocols from the authorities, to prevent the spread of the virus into football and beyond.
However, elite football is threatened with arrest with Julian Knight, the chairman of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, calling some goal celebrations “insane”.
There have also been examples of footballers breaking the rules for New Years celebrations, but Lampard believes the talks about the sport offer a one-sided perspective.
“My opinion, as you cross the spectrum of society, is that some footballers have made mistakes, which some admitted when they were discovered and that it is wrong,” Lampard told reporters.
“Members of the public did this, some members of the public are absolutely following the rules. Some politicians also made mistakes that when surprised they admitted, so I certainly don’t think the spotlight should be just on footballers.
“On the other side of that, I think footballers need to understand their responsibility and now that a few mistakes have been made you hope we see less of them. But I would definitely support people who just want to identify footballers who are still going work and do their job.
“If they make mistakes then fine, raise your hand, discipline them and hopefully the footballers won’t make so many mistakes in the future. They have been very difficult times for everyone. and it was certainly not just the footballers who made mistakes.
“Footballers do everything everyone asked to do too. Some people are invited to work from home, footballers don’t. So they find themselves in an environment where they potentially put themselves in danger and maybe to be their family where they return home – a pregnant woman, a grandparent, a parent, a brother, a sister too.
“So we have to understand that footballers are also human and that they are being asked to do their job right now. So I think that’s one thing and if you understand football and the passion, the instinct of every fan , every person on the street has for football if they love it, they understand that it can bring out emotions in you.
“So controlling the emotions is a good thing, but dictating the emotions will probably be very difficult on the pitch. I think we should see how it goes because as we go along we will see if the players can control it. I hope they can, but this game, this beautiful game that we all love brings out emotions on the pitch.
“What I want to be really clear is that the players are welcome to come to work and they are doing whatever they can to follow the line – like the hope that every person in the audience has to follow the line to help us get through this. “
Chelsea understands the severity of the pandemic with their signing of £ 70million ($ 94million), Kai Havertz having suffered of the coronavirus, as well as several members of the staff of the first team.
Meanwhile, their academy building is currently closed due to an outbreak among players and staff after coming back from a short winter break. The first team remains unchanged due to the different teams having different bubbles as Chelsea prepare for a short trip to their local rivals Fulham the Saturday.
Lampard may implement a hugging ban in training, but he thinks it’s hard to do in a top-tier Premier League game.
“We practice social distancing as much as possible on the training ground,” he added. “On the pitch it can be tough because you have to train and get close to each other, but whenever you can and in training the instinct shouldn’t be to grab so much, hopefully. the, that it would be at stake when you score in the Premier League who wins a game or whatever.
“So for sure that’s something I’m going to pass on to the players and you see a lot of those group hugs now when they win a five-a-side camp, so that’s going to be something we look at.”
Chelsea has also reopened the Copthorne Hotel in its stadium to NHS (National Health Service) workers who may struggle to return home after late shifts as pressure on London hospitals increases.
They also launched a weekly live stream called Coaches Corner Live for kids to practice their soccer skills while being stuck inside.