Gareth Southgate says footballers "more open" to Covid vaccine conspiracy theories 1 month ago

Gareth Southgate says footballers "more open" to Covid vaccine conspiracy theories

"At their age they are more open to some of these conspiracy theories "

England manager Gareth Southgate has said that the age and social media use of footballers can make them "more open" to conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Advertisement

Southgate has repeatedly pledged his support for the vaccine rollout but the issue of the uptake amongst professional players has made headlines during the early weeks of the new season.

Earlier this week, West Brom's Republic of Ireland international Callum Robinson said that he had chosen not to get the vaccine, despite having COVID twice.

Speaking ahead of England's World Cup qualifier with Andorra on Saturday, Southgate attempted to explain the perceived reluctance amongst some players to get the jab.

"Most of the players had to wait longer, a lot of them already caught the virus - and this is me theorising - maybe they feel they already have antibodies from that," Southgate said.

"At their age they are more open to some of these conspiracy theories. Because they are reading social media more, they are perhaps vulnerable to those sorts of views. From what I can see, there is a bit of confusion around.

"And there are several different threads there to why they are choosing to be jabbed or not to speak publicly about it. I recognise why there would be criticism for that. As I’ve said all along, I don’t see a better way of getting through the pandemic than a vaccination programme.

Advertisement

"Nobody has come up with anything. They have come up with reasons not to be jabbed but I’ve not heard them coming up with a better solution, otherwise we’d all stay where we’ve been for the last two years. It’s a very complex subject, a very toxic subject, and maybe that's why people are a little bit more reluctant to speak up."

Southgate indicated that the uptake of the vaccine amongst the England squad was higher than expected. He also insisted his players not speaking out on the matter was not comparable to their willingness to speak out on other social issues.

"In other topics we’ve discussed as a group publicly we’ve been very clear," he added. "There is no place for racism whatsoever. If there was abuse for your view that we felt strongly enough about it that we are going to stand the line.

"With the vaccination there are individuals feeling differently. Whatever side you’re on, or whatever side you speak publicly about, you get nailed.

"I think there might be some anxiety for speaking up from some of the players, even if they feel they are on the right side of the argument."

Advertisement

Related links: