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Spitting To Be Banned When Football Returns To Stop Virus Spreading

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Spitting To Be Banned When Football Returns To Stop Virus Spreading

Players could be booked for spitting when football return, with FIFA's Medical Committee chairman warning the practice could spread coronavirus on the football pitch.

With football across most of Europe starting to plan for its eventual return in the next couple of months, concerns have been raised about players spitting on the pitch.

Often players can be spotted partaking in the disgusting activity by expunging their bodily fluids on the pitch away from anyone else but Michel D'Hooghe has warned that will have to stop.

"This is a common practice in football and it is not very hygienic," the sport's governing body's Medical Committee chairman told the Telegraph.

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"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."

People can have coronavirus without showing symptoms, which is the biggest issue when it comes to people breaking social distancing rules, and so asymptomatic players spitting could prove a big issue.

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A virologist at the University of Cambridge, Dr Ian Brierley, explained exactly why spitting and other practices were dangerous, adding, "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."

Celebrations like this might have to change. Image: PA Images
Celebrations like this might have to change. Image: PA Images

Before football stopped last month the Premier League had already stopped the pre-match handshake, with players simply walking past each other awkwardly, but even with these measures there would still surely be an issue with players grappling at corners and free-kicks.

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Teams in England's top tier have started returning to training at their training facilities at some teams, having previously having had to do work at home, but they are still restricted to working on their own.

Cricket has had its own issue with spitting and saliva ahead of the sport's return, as players are unlikely to be able to moisten the ball to help with swing, as they have previously.

Topics: Football News, Covid 19, Serie A, Eredivisie, Premier League, Bundesliga

Ryan Sidle
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