Hot topics close

Darren Lewis: A ban is the only way to make Premier League 'Covidiots' see sense

The Premier League are bending over backwards to resist having to suspend the season amid a rise in infections – but their efforts are being undermined by selfish stars and their egos

The trouble is there’s no deterrent.

Most highly-paid football players would take a one or two-week fine in exchange for breaking coronavirus restrictions for sex or socialising.

The long list of stars in the dock, stretching back to the first lockdown, is evidence of this. Many implicate themselves, brazenly posting incriminating snaps on Instagram, effectively sticking two fingers up to the rest of us who are making sacrifices.

Ban them from playing for three or four games – minimum – and you really would be hitting them where it hurts. Until then, it will continue.

Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy, caught at a do on New Year’s Eve, was among Premier League stars from a clutch of clubs – including West Ham, Crystal Palace and Spurs – found to have infringed guidelines in place to keep themselves and others safe.

Benjamin Mendy flouted Covid measures (Image: Getty Images)

Clubs say they have “reminded players of their responsibilities” but they’ve been doing that ever since the first lockdown.

Football will get into a strop over being called out but the truth is, it is trashing its own reputation. After doing so well to lift a nation staying at home to protect their safety last season, the sport is in danger of eating itself.

Even more remarkable has been the defence of said players by top managers including City’s Pep Guardiola and Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson.

Let’s not kid ourselves. We all know someone bending the rules, or perhaps have even done so ourselves.

But the actions of the few have put the many within English football at risk.

The Premier League are bending over backwards to resist having to suspend the season amid a rise in infections – but their efforts are being undermined by selfish stars and their egos.

If stricken clubs can’t muster enough players to fulfil fixtures – with fans already banned from grounds – where does the TV money then come from? Football would face ruin.

Jobs will be lost. Livelihoods will be put at risk and the cash flow that so many take for granted could be halted.

Players need a reminder that their actions have consequences. Ban them and they will soon wake up to that fact.

Similar news
  • Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd: Alisson saves thwart leaders at Anfield
  • Liverpool v Manchester United: Premier League – live!
  • Liverpool vs Man Utd: Epic trailer for Premier League giants is going viral on Twitter
  • Liverpool vs Man Utd: Live stream, TV channel, team news and kick-off time for TODAY’S huge Premier League t
  • Premier League: Andrew Robertson says Liverpool not thinking they are defending title as champions
  • Premier League 2020/21 Week 19: EPL Results & Table
  • Premier League teams eyeing up a deal for Benfica wonderkid Ronaldo Camara
  • Premier League predictions: Tottenham joy, cagey at Anfield?
  • Liverpool vs Manchester United title race: What happened in 2008/09, when they last competed for the Premier League?
  • All-time Premier League table – Liverpool’s success has been incredible but they must defeat resurgent Man
  • Graham Potter says the Premier League table is not their focus
  • Premier League chief warns clubs after 'disappointing and concerning' Covid protocol breaches
  • Nemanja Matic fires warning to Manchester United Premier League title rivals
  • Burnley 0-1 Man Utd highlights
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks out on Manchester United celebrations amid Premier League clampdown
  • When were Man Utd last top of the Premier League table and what was the team?
  • Can Man Utd win the Premier League? How every league leader has fared after 17 games
  • Paul Pogba's stunning volley sees off Burnley and fires Manchester United top of the table
  • Gary Lineker asks question after Manchester United move to top of Premier League table
  • Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Leeds United: Harry Kane & Son Heung-min help Spurs return to winning ways