NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOperuPERUlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA

Vaccinating Olympians and international footballers...


Alejandro Blanco (head of the Spanish Olympic committee) holds a cordial relationship with Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez and some time ago he requested that Spanish athletes traveling to Tokyo be vaccinated with the roll-out in Japan behind schedule. Given the reasonable nature of the request, the head of the government consented to the appeal with all Olympians being given a vaccine along with high risk members of society and front-line workers (nurses, firemen etc)... The athletes were vaccinated and there was no outrage from members of the public.

Christian Santos receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Guaranteed Rate Field
Full screen
Christian Santos receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Guaranteed Rate FieldSCOTT OLSONAFP

Political 'hot potato'

A group of 500 individuals (which also included some members of the media heading to Japan) along with other key workers and members of the Olympic Committee were all fully vaccinated. Things in the world of football haven't taken the same path. The Spanish FA now claim that they made a similar request to have staff and players vaccinated some two months ago, the government claim that the request was only a 'recent thing'. The matter is now with the Department of Health and they correctly stated that the final decision is not theirs to take. This is not a matter of science but a political situation and members of the Spanish FA are angered that there was no issue when it came to vaccinating Tokyo bound athletes but now the subject of a vaccine for the national team is something of a 'hot potato'.

08/06/21 Entrenamiento de los jugadores de la selección española ESPAÑA  LUIS ENRIQUE
Full screen
08/06/21 Entrenamiento de los jugadores de la selección española ESPAÑA LUIS ENRIQUEPablo GarciaRFEF

Tarnished reputation

There is a public perception that the Olympians are a bunch of honest and humble sportsmen and women and that football players are a highly privileged group who live in a different world. This is an unfair assessment and in this particular matter we're only talking about 51 individuals. As things stand, two players have tested positive and all Euro 2020 preparations have been thrown off course with the U-21 side drafted in to face Lithuania last night. The situation conveys a poor message to an international audience, one of a disorganized nation and all this on the eve of a hugely important international tournament. At the end of the day, vaccinating the 51 members of the Spain set-up would have been instrumental in avoiding the problems that prevail, thus avoiding tarnishing Spain's reputation.