Republic of Ireland international Callum Robinson has admitted he has chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 despite being twice laid low by the virus and is the first high-profile footballer to admit he has not got the jab. 

The 26-year-old West Brom striker, who had already missed games for his country as a close contact, first tested positive in November last year and then again in August, meaning he had to sit out last month's World Cup qualifiers.

But just days after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp expressed his exasperation with Premier League players who have not been double-jabbed, Robinson - who is on £27,000 a week with his club - has spoken of his decision not to do so.

Asked if he had been vaccinated, he replied: 'I haven't been vaccinated, no. That's my choice at this moment in time.

'It's obviously annoying that I've caught it twice but I haven't been vaccinated. Further down the line I could change my mind and want to do it, but at this moment in time I haven't been vaccinated, no.'

Asked why, Robinson (who played in the Premier League last season) added: 'I just haven't, I just haven't done it. I think it's your personal choice and my choice at this moment in time, I haven't been vaccinated.

'I know, as you said, there are managers and people that will want you to do it, which is right in their way, the way they think, but everyone has their choice on what they want to do. I wouldn't force people to do it, it's your choice and your body.'

Ireland international Callum Robinson has admitted he has chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19
The 26-year-old has twice been laid low by the virus and is the first high-profile footballer to admit he has not got the jab

Ireland international Callum Robinson has admitted he has chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19

Robinson, who declined to discuss his reasons, continues to be tested regularly along with his team-mates and he is not the only member of the Ireland squad not to have been vaccinated, with manager Stephen Kenny, who has seen his reign to date repeatedly disrupted by coronavirus, confirming several players are in the same situation.

However Kenny, who has had both injections, admitted it could be a step too far to select only those who were covered despite under-21s boss Jim Crawford having had to leave seven UK and Germany-based players out of his squad for a trip to Montenegro, which is on the red list of both countries.

He said: 'Well, I think it would be quite a radical viewpoint to just say, "Right, whoever is not vaccinated is not being selected in the future".

'I'm not aware of anybody who has done this in any sport at the moment, so for me to just come and decide that would be extremely radical.

'I was very happy to be (vaccinated) myself and encouraged staff and players. Of course it seems like the most sensible thing to do, and the safest with regard to our environment.

'There are a lot of myths and a lot of issues around virility that people are concerned about and other issues, you know, and I do think it is complex. I am not a medical expert, but I do trust the experts and I do think it is better to be double-vaccinated.'

Robinson's revelation comes after it emerged last week around two-thirds of Premier League players are not vaccinated against the virus. 

Club officials are complaining that dressing rooms have been 'polluted' by senior players spreading conspiracy theories involving Bill Gates, infertility and the power of vitamins. 

The League remain concerned as the limited nature of many clubs' vaccination programmes increases the chances of damaging Covid outbreaks, but they have been reassured after receiving more details of the Government's winter plan. 

Many fans may object to players being spared compulsory vaccination when they are not, but the Government are wary of the legal implications of making vaccination a condition of employment.

Only seven of the 20 Premier League clubs have fully vaccinated more than 50 per cent of their squads. While Leeds, Wolves, Southampton and Brentford have vaccinated more than 90 per cent of their staff, at least three clubs have yet to get even 10 individuals jabbed.

Overnight, reports state that Manchester United are still a long way from getting the majority of their squad vaccinated against coronavirus and their rivals are getting frustrated with the club over the issue. 

According to The Times, Man United's lack of Covid-19 uptake has frustrated the rest of the league, who see the Red Devils as the biggest and most influential club in the country.

The report adds that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad are not close to the likes of Liverpool and Leeds in terms of their high vaccine uptake, despite the opposite message coming out of the club.

Overall, data came out last week stating that only seven clubs' squads are more than 50 per cent fully vaccinated in England's top-flight league. The data is surprising given a Mail on Sunday report found that a quarter of Premier League first-team squads have had Covid during the pandemic.

A Premier League document stated: 'We are considering if and how best we can "reward" those squads/players who are most Covid-compliant and who have opted to be vaccinated.'

No comments:

Post a Comment