Lambert: Morally I Think Us Playing Football is Wrong
Thursday, 14th Jan 2021 10:44
Town boss Paul Lambert says there’s a strong case for football to be stopped given the current prevalence of Covid-19 and believes continuing to play is “morally wrong”.
Lambert was among 11 players and staff, along with general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill and academy head of coaching and player development Bryan Klug, to test positive for the virus just before Christmas with the Blues having four games postponed due to that outbreak and those at other clubs.
Asked on BBC 5 Live Breakfast (2hrs 44mins 2secs) whether football should be stopped, Lambert said: “I think there’s a strong case for it. I’ve had it and I’m going by the symptoms, the way I felt. It was the worst ever, it really was.
“The NHS people and the care workers are doing an incredible job of putting themselves on the line, and footballers are asked to go and play a game. I just don’t get it. It’s not entertainment, it’s not the same game without fans. It’s not the same game.”
Do other people in football hold a similar view? “A lot of them I’ve spoken to because footballers are human beings as well, they’re human and morally, I think us playing football is wrong.
“I get it why people want us [to continue] as it keeps everybody right, but who’s protecting the players and the staff at every other club because they’re going to get it, and they have been getting it, as you’ve seen.
“It doesn’t matter how stringent the protocols are, the virus seeps in somewhere and it’s opening everything out.
“Now the new rules on whether we can celebrate or not celebrate, can we shake hands, can we not shake hands, everything’s coming on top of football at the minute and I think it’s a heavy weight to carry.”
Players are being called on not to celebrate goals due to the risks of spreading the virus but Lambert says that’s a natural aspect of the game.
“I’ve had it, I’m still recovering. I’ve never felt as bad as this for years and years, I can’t remember the last time I felt as bad as this, so it’s certainly real, that’s for sure,” he said.
“I just don’t get it, we’re asked to play football and celebrations are part of the game, it is an instinct thing, you run to your team-mate.
“If that’s the Government rules or what they’re laying down is that if someone scores a goal don’t go near them then everybody has to try and get that in their head. But it’s a difficult thing.
“The thing for me is that there are too many questions being asked about what’s right and what’s wrong.
“If the players do something wrong they get criticised, but they’re asked to play, which I don’t get because you’re stopping tennis, you’re stopping golf. They’re metres apart but you’re asking footballers to play when they’re inches apart, so I don’t get it. But this Covid thing is really, really incredible, what’s happened to the world.”
Is it possible to have more muted, socially-distanced celebrations? “You’re going to have to find it from somewhere. I’m pretty sure if you played football as a kid in the park and you scored a goal or your mate scored a goal, you’d run up to them and say ‘well done’. You’d have to get that instinct when your team-mate’s scored a goal you leave him be.
“As I said before, I was unfortunate, I had it and it was horrendous, it’s a horrendous virus.
“We’re making so many rules for football so it can get finished, we’re asking players to go into different tiers.
“I know they’re getting tested negative but you never know when this thing can get you. It can get you in the blink of an eye really and I think that’s the big thing - football still has to go and play and try and put entertainment on.
“It’s not entertainment any more, and this is my opinion, it’s not entertainment this is just trying to get a season finished and try and move on.”
Asked how he contracted the virus, Lambert explained: “It was a really strange one because one of the lads at the club got tested and it came back negative, [but] his flu test came back positive.
“We had a goal celebration and we thought he had it and he it turned out he never had it, it turned out one of the other lads had it.
“So we all got tested and all of a sudden I think about eight of us got it, including another member of staff, and I was nowhere near them. I was two metres apart from them in the dressing room.
“But you never know where you get it from. I don’t know, I really don’t. But what I do know is that I’ve never felt as bad as that in my life.
“When you’re in the shower, your hair is sore, your head’s sore, the headaches and pneumonia, everything was breaking down. So I’ve got a strong opinion on it, I just don’t see how football should be exempt.”
He added: “You’re asking players to go and play a game when everybody else can’t move [into] different tiers. For example, how can Ipswich go and travel to play Sunderland or Fleetwood or wherever?
“Everybody’s in the same boat where we are with this virus, nobody’s immune to getting it. How can you stop tennis and how can you stop other tiers of football playing and keep the bigger ones going?”
Photo: Matchday Images
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