EXCLUSIVE: Premier League clubs are being hit with £5,000 fines each time their players swap shirts with opponents for ‘ill discipline’ regarding Covid-19 protocol… and players are being asked to stump up the money
- A £5,000 fine will be handed to Premier League sides when players swap shirts
- One top-flight team has already fallen foul of the rules on two occasions
- Swapping shirts is said to show ‘ill-discipline’ regarding Covid-19 protocols
- The Premier League clubs and players in question have not been named
Premier League clubs are being hit with a £5,000 fine every time a player swaps shirts after a game, with one side already penalised twice.
Fines have been issued after players were found by their Premier League-appointed Covid compliance officer to have shown ‘ill-discipline regarding protocols’.
Clubs can choose to pay the fine or pass it on to players. The club which was fined twice ordered the two players who committed the breach to stump up. The opposing clubs are also thought to have been fined for their players’ part in the shirt-swaps. Sportsmail knows the name of the club, who do not want to be identified.
Premier League clubs are being hit with fines of £5,000 every time players swap shirts – the clubs and players in question have not been named
The club in question were surprised to hear of the fine from the Premier League, rather than direct from the Covid officer who monitors players’ conduct at all training sessions and matches.
There is tension within certain clubs about the presence of this new cadre of officers, with some feeling that they are ‘hovering’.
One club describes the Covid compliance officer measuring out the distance between two players in a club medical room after seeing them talking, to ensure the appropriate distance.
The clubs, which have not been disclosed, can choose to pay the fine or pass it on to players, also not identified, amid Covid-19 protocols
The 20 club-specific officers, who work on behalf of the Premier League but are not on staff, are also being asked to check that players socially distance when eating in the canteen and do not park cars too closely together.
The tougher new Premier League rules were communicated by letter to all clubs on January 7, when players were routinely hugging on the pitch despite infection rates soaring in the country and within the game.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola controversially said that he did not believe his players would be able to adhere to the rules outdoors.
The shirt-swapping fines come at a time when Premier League clubs are looking forward to the strict world of protocols coming to an end. They are expecting a rule stipulating that every club must use three coaches to travel to away games to be removed at the end of the season, along with the ban on room-sharing.
Pep Guardiola (right, seen talking to Sergio Aguero) controversially said he did not believe his Manchester City players would be able to adhere to the strict protocols when they are outside
Some top clubs have stopped taking chefs on their coaches because of the restrictions.
The extra cost of hiring only single rooms has led some EFL clubs to abandon overnight stays altogether.
The Premier League would not discuss individual club fines, but said that the system of introducing tougher rules, Covid officers and Covid matchday co-ordinators had been accompanied by a sharp drop in positive tests.
After 36 positive tests were reported from clubs for the week to January 10, the figure immediately dropped to 16 and has been at two for the past five weeks.