Soccer

Premier League clubs called to urgent meetings over restrictions on celebrations

Premier League captains and managers have been called to a series of urgent meetings on new coronavirus protocols.

It comes amid further warnings on goal celebrations with players being warned the Government could step in unless they respect the warnings.

Premier League director of football Richard Garlick is in charge of four rounds of meetings which started with two on Thursday afternoon and will have another two sessions on Friday with every captain or PFA rep and manager expected to attend.

Prem bosses have already sent out a new set of rules following a surge of cases and postponements within football which include players being told to stop hugging, handshakes and high fives as well as reinforcing the message on shirt swapping and training ground rules.

Goal celebrations has become a major issue because clubs were ordered to tone down – and yet both Manchester clubs, Fulham and Sheffield United all celebrated as normal after scoring goals in midweek games.

But England captain Harry Kane did appear to tone down his celebration after scoring for Tottenham against Fulham on Wednesday night.

One captain asked at Thursday’s meeting what the difference was between goal celebrations and marking at a corner.

They were told in no uncertain terms that the worry is more about the “image” that is then shown about footballers not worrying about social distancing when celebrating goals and that is seen as a “bad look” while the rest of the country is under lockdown and restrictions.

The meetings were planned at the start of this week to continue the clampdown rather than as a reaction to goal celebrations while a full report and the fall out will be relayed to a Premier league shareholders meeting next week but bosses have stressed they have Government support to carry on.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard confirmed the meetings are spread out over two days but fears it will be difficult and may take time to drum the message into players.

Lampard said: "There are meetings about this today and tomorrow to reinforce that to the players. Football has and always will be a game of instinct. If we want to take the instinct out of the game then it is not that simple."

Leicester winger Marc Albrighton added: "The Government have let us carry on…..people want to watch football at home. It's keeping the country going.

“But we need to stick to the guidelines….with the celebration of goals it's difficult to not celebrate and it spoils it a bit. We have to be cautious and abide by the guidelines.”

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