Pigg’s Peak: Footballers could be on the receiving end of a booking from referees for spitting during games due to the potential spread of coronavirus from saliva, says FIFA’s Medical Committee Chairman.
According to a report carried by United Kingdom’s MailOnline- as well as numerous health concerns with the potential return of football, spitting may be punishable by a yellow card and banned outright, as saliva which stays on the pitch for hours risks spreading COVID-19.
With football in Europe’s big leagues nearing a return with the English Premier League clubs slowly returning to training, Michel D’Hooghe has warned that footballers will have to change their mannerisms on the pitch for health and safety reasons.
“This is a common practice in football and it is not very hygienic,” D’Hooge told The Telegraph.
“So when we start football again I think we should have to avoid that at maximum. The question is whether that will be possible. Perhaps they can give a yellow card.
“It is unhygienic and a good way to spread the virus. This is one of the reasons why we have to be very careful before we start again. I am not pessimistic but I am rather sceptical at the moment,” he is quoted by the MailOnline.
Currently there is no word from the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) on when football might resume, except that premier league clubs cannot afford to play behind closed doors and that the organisation will await government through the Ministry of Health and the Eswatini Football Association on a directive to start games again as reported by Independent News Sports.
Scientific experts say that coronavirus could be spread from player to player if spitting was allowed to continue as normal, especially given players could be asymptomatic whilst competing.
Virologist at the University of Cambridge, Dr Ian Brierley, added: ‘If the person is infected but asymptomatic, or infected and symptomatic, the virus is present in the throat, and can be ejected into the environment by spitting.
“Players may have to develop new celebrations so that they are not in close contact with each other. Pre-match handshakes, huddles at the start of a game and shirt swapping at the end of the match would also send out a poor message.”
There are similar calls in the world of cricket about stopping the potential spread of coronavirus, with the method of using saliva on the ball to help it swing also facing a ban if the sport returns in the near-future.
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