Sport Letters: Footballers should start following the rules or be left out of the next match

Telegraph Sport
·4 min read
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - January 13, 2021 - Pool via REUTERS /CLIVE BRUNSKILL 
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - January 13, 2021 - Pool via REUTERS /CLIVE BRUNSKILL

I accept the point that all Premier League footballers are regularly tested and therefore the risk of transmission of Covid during scoring celebrations is minimised, but I do not accept it is difficult if not impossible for them to refrain from celebrating.

Towards the end of a match and a team is needing to score, we often see the scorer picking the ball out of the net and running back to the centre circle with it to get the game restarted without any celebratory contact with team-mates –so they obviously can do it if it suits them.

Footballers are often held up to be role models for youngsters in particular and the players and their clubs do well to remember their responsibilities to set the right example and adhere to the guidelines set out to protect the NHS and help us all get through this pandemic.

Steve Cottier, Edinburgh

Some Premier League footballers claim that group goal celebrations cannot be stopped because it is an emotional game. So I humbly submit this thought.

An intensive care unit nurse probably experiences more emotions in a day than most footballers do in a year. And yet those top flight players earn more in a day than an NHS nurse does in a year.

At this time we should all reflect on our nation's core values and assess appropriate lifestyle priorities. It's a period of sacrifice for all of us – isn't it?

Jim Reside, Chiswick

Fulham's Portuguese striker Ivan Cavaleiro celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his teammates during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 13, 2021 - AFP/GLYN KIRK 
Fulham's Portuguese striker Ivan Cavaleiro celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his teammates during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 13, 2021 - AFP/GLYN KIRK

Sir, Gabriel Agbonlahor insists it is impossible for players to not celebrate by hugging team-mates after scoring. Yet how many times have we seen carefully choreographed demonstrations, such as "rocking the baby" with players lined up, or Peter Crouch's robot dance? Players should start following the rules or be left out of the next match. They are not robots but they can be much better role models and receive general public acclaim if they are seen to be doing the right thing.

Peter Burnett, Sheffield

I believe Chris Wilder and Gabriel Agbonlahor are being disingenuous when they say players cannot help being emotional and euphoric after scoring a goal. I’ve noticed more than once that when a player scores a goal against a team that they have recently played for, they refrain from any sort of celebration.

Gray Wilson, Crowle, Worcs

As a retired Physical Education teacher, I fully endorse The Telegraph's Keep Kids Active campaign. I implore the Government to reinstate grass-roots physical activities and sport for youngsters. The mental aspects and happiness gained from taking part in exercise are immense and so important to the future wellbeing of our children.

The first years of childhood are what shapes you. Healthy habits are formed, once lost, never gained again. Sport is an escape and can be looked at as important as English and Maths in the curriculum. Future programmes should include enabling every child to value, understand and practice the principles of exercise. An active lifestyle is in the Government's hands. Woe the repercussions if grass-roots sport and activities are not reinstated!

Jennifer Naylor, Hastings

I agree with Brian Moore’s article regarding foul language on the rugby pitch, particularly as it is now so easy to pick it up on the ref’s mic. Apart from the fact that if you allow some swearing, then it just escalates and everyone does it so no one player can reasonably be sent off. Virtually all televised matches are played before the watershed, so youngsters will again be fed the idea that this is what the internationals do, so it becomes mandatory at junior level.

Graham Francis, Fetcham, Surrey

How refreshing to watch a cricket match between Sri Lanka and England without the constant background noise. Test matches seem to have been taken over by the appropriately named Barmy Army and drunken yobs who have no interest in watching the cricket. What happened to polite applause and the occasional 'well played, sir'. Save the circus for one-dayers and T20.

Dick Moulds, Louth, Lincs