Italy has joined France in making vaccination mandatory for anyone wishing to play outdoor team sports, which means Premier League players will need to poke around for a move to Serie A in January.
The Italian government met this week to implement urgent changes to its coronavirus restrictions, with every athlete in the country – from the professional game to amateur teams – needing the “green lane” in order to participate.
A ‘Green Passage’ is granted 15 days after a person first receives a vaccination, with a Covid passport-style document also required to enter swimming pools, festivals, religious buildings, hotels and public transportation.
This is unlikely to affect Serie A as it was revealed earlier this month that 98 per cent of all Serie A footballers take double strikes in a league that has so far been unaffected by Amicron.
But it could cause problems for any unvaccinated Liverpool players, who will not be allowed to play in the Champions League Round of 16 match on February 16 if the rules are applied.
Italy said any athlete wishing to play in the country should be vaccinated
The rule will affect any Liverpool player who has not been vaccinated before facing Inter Milan in the Champions League on February 16
It is not known how many Liverpool players have been vaccinated, although the Premier League revealed that 16 per cent of footballers in the Premier League have not yet received their first dose of the vaccine.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been fully supportive of players being vaccinated and claimed earlier this month that the club would not sign any new players who did not receive both doses.
And the Liverpool coach said: “I think the vaccination will certainly affect who will sign for clubs.” If a player is not vaccinated at all, he is a constant threat to all of us.
“He doesn’t want to be a threat, and it’s not that he thinks ‘I don’t care about others’ but that he is.”
Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp supports the vaccine and says he will not sign players who are not infected
Meanwhile, the English rugby team heads to Italy on February 13 for the Six Nations match, so any players who have not been challenged will be banned from playing.
The new restrictions, which will start on January 6 when Serie A resumes after the winter break, also affect fans, who will need the “green corridor” to enter stadiums at any level.
Sports stars who take a double whammy will also be exempted from any quarantine rules, but it is advised to wear a mask for up to a week after their arrival.
The Italian move comes just days after French President Emmanuel Macron announced that full double vaccinations will be mandatory for professional athletes in the country from January 15.
The ruling will also affect any unvaccinated English rugby players such as Henry Slade (left) on the Six Nations trip to Italy on February 13.
The rules could affect players on England’s rugby team again, who go to France for the final round of Six Nations matches on March 19. Meanwhile, Chelsea plays a Champions League match on the night of March 16th.
It is not known how many English rugby players have not been vaccinated, but center Henry Slade, who has type 1 diabetes, insisted last summer he would not take the shot due to problems with the vaccine in the past.
A French sports ministry spokeswoman said a decision would be made “within days” on how the new rules would affect non-French teams competing in the country.
Currently, professional and amateur athletes in France need to present a Covid passport to access stadiums and participate in the Games.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced similar rules for the Covid virus this week
This can be obtained through double vaccination or through a negative test, but under the new rules, the latter option will be removed in favor of a single vaccination passport.
The latest figures show that 98 per cent of elite rugby players in France have been vaccinated, with a slight decrease of 95 per cent of footballers. However, in both cases, this is higher than their respective numbers in England.
France also became the latest country to limit the number of spectators at football matches with new Covid rules announcing limiting outdoor gatherings to just 5,000 people.
It follows similar measures taken in Germany where 15,000 fans were restricted from participating in Bundesliga matches according to rules set earlier in December.
Chelsea face Lille in the Champions League and Thomas Tuchel may only be able to pick players who have been vaccinated (note: no indication that the players pictured have refused a jab)
The Italian government considered a similar move at their meeting this week, but no decision was made on that in the minutes.
Italy had the highest number of coronavirus cases on Christmas Day with 54,762 new cases per day, although on December 26 that number dropped to 24,883.
Meanwhile, France also saw a record number of Covid-19 cases this week, with 104,611 cases on Christmas Day, an increase of 10,000 compared to the previous day. It was the first time the country had recorded more than 100,000 cases per day since the pandemic began.