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Arsenal's Granit Xhaka Is First Premier League Player Confirmed To Have Turned Down COVID-19 Vaccine

Jack Kenmare


Arsenal's Granit Xhaka Is First Premier League Player Confirmed To Have Turned Down COVID-19 Vaccine

Featured Image Credit: PA/granitxhaka - Instagram

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka opted to turn down the COVID-19 vaccine before he tested positive for the disease while on international duty, says the Swiss Football Association.

The 28-year-old, who missed Switzerland's 2-1 win against Greece on Wednesday evening after testing positive on the morning of the game, will take a PCR test on Thursday as he isolates himself from the rest of his teammates.

He is now expected to stay in Switzerland for ten days as he recovers from the virus.

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA

Amid the news that Xhaka had to isolate after testing positive, Adrian Arnold, who is the Swiss FA's head of communications, confirmed the Arsenal player turned down the option to take the vaccine.

"Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated," Arnold said per Swiss publication Blick.

"He's a player who isn't vaccinated. We left this up to each player, it's a personal decision of each player - just like any other person in Switzerland.

"We have issued a recommendation that everyone vaccinate. But he decided for himself personally. And it is also his right not to be vaccinated."

"All the other players in the team have been vaccinated or have recovered [from Covid] - so they are more or less safe, at least from a medical point of view. One is never quite sure. Accordingly, we have a very high vaccination rate.

"Now, unfortunately, Granit got caught. From a sporting point of view, it is a shame for us at this important moment."

Ahead of Arsenal's Premier League opener against Brentford last month, manager Mikel Arteta said that most of the squad had been double vaccinated.

"Most of them are double vaccinated. Others, they have one vaccine," he said.

"We are trying to encourage them to get vaccinated because they are going to protect themselves, their families, obviously the environment around the club. But it is a really personal matter and we are trying to guide them and explain the reasons why it is better to do it.

"But, at the end, it's a personal decision.

"It is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting the people around us as well. I think it is a gesture of generosity.

"I don't know if somebody is completely convinced at the beginning to do it, but you see that the benefits at the moment are much bigger."

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA

Xhaka, who received a red card in the club's 5-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday, is the first Premier League player confirmed to have turned down the COVID vaccine, according to The Daily Mail.

Topics: Greece, Football, Granit Xhaka, Arsenal, Switzerland

Jack Kenmare
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