Pep Guardiola urged fans to wear masks in stadiums to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Under recently introduced government Plan B regulations, fans now must show proof of double vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to participate in matches.
There has been speculation, however, that authorities could go further and force the games to return behind closed doors – as it was during Project Restart and for most of last season – amidst case numbers on the rise in England.
Guardiola, who lost her mother to the virus last year, doesn’t want it to happen again but thinks people could do more.
Asked about the prospect of playing without fans again, the Manchester City manager said: “I wouldn’t like that.
“You can’t imagine how different it is to play with people compared to without people. It’s not comparable.
“In the end we played behind closed doors so that the world football economy survived, for the broadcasters. Thanks to this, we continued to receive our salaries and were able to play football for the people.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again, but cases are being raised all over the world. These people go to stadiums and they can contaminate.
“There are people in the stadiums who don’t use masks and this surprises me the most. You walk down the street, you go to big shopping malls, to the places to buy gifts for the family and nobody uses masks.
“Vaccinations, booster shots, people [can] to decide, but part of that has to be social distancing and masks. It is the best way to protect ourselves, our families and the rest of the people.
“So, the restaurants might still be open, and football could go on. I’m not a scientist or a doctor but I trust doctors and scientists because they know more than I do.
“I want to trust the people who know and say this is the safest way: get a vaccine. People don’t die when they get a vaccine.
Bruno Lage’s players and staff received their recall shots after the Chelsea game in an effort to keep themselves and others safe this winter.
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– Wolves (@Wolves) December 20, 2021
“Wearing a mask is as important as social distancing and hand sanitizers, so let’s try that. Otherwise, it might [come back] Again and again and again. “
The Premier League leaders will host Leicester on Boxing Day in a kick-off at 3pm.
The Premier League publishes match postponement guidelines
The concerns of executives and captains were heard by the Premier League in special meetings on Thursday.
Managers and players have expressed concerns about the number of games to be played in quick succession during the Christmas holiday period due to the demands it is placing on teams that have been downsized due to Covid-19.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola raised the possibility of players slipping over welfare issues, while Tottenham manager Antonio Conte called the matches “a waste of time”.
Following requests from executives for transparency as to why some matches were canceled and others not, the Premier League released a guide explaining its protocols for postponing matches.
Clubs have been told they must provide the following information when requesting a match postponement:
- Details of the players and staff who have Covid, their vaccination status and – if known – the source of their infections
- Players and staff not available due to injury and illness
- Players on the squad list who are still available, including U21 players with “adequate experience”
- Medical information to verify each player’s status not available, which will be reviewed by Premier League medical advisors
Antonio Conte believes that meetings between the Premier League and executives and players have been a waste of time as pressure builds on the league due to match congestion and increased coronavirus cases.
The Premier League will then consider the following factors when deciding whether to grant the request:
- Impact of Covid infections, injuries, illnesses and isolation on the team, as well as the number of U21 first team and “with the right experience” players available
- Matches will be postponed if a club does not have at least 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper available
- Status of any Covid outbreaks in the club, including the number and source of infections and proximity to the match
- The club’s ability to safely prepare its players
- Medical advice on the existence of an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff while playing the game
- Advice from the UK Health Securities Agency and other public bodies
- Other exceptional circumstances