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23rd Dec 2021

Swansea manager Russell Martin says he is ‘pro choice, not anti-vaccine’

Simon Lloyd

“It’s all about freedom of choice, which is slowly being vilified or taken away…”

Swansea City manager Russell Martin has insisted he will not tell any of his players to have a Covid-19 vaccination, saying it would be wrong to strip them of their “freedom of choice”.

The sharp spike in Covid cases across the UK has already had a huge impact on English football with six of the ten Premier League games scheduled for this weekend having been postponed.

The postponements have sparked fresh debate over how many players are still to take up their vaccinations. The Premier League says 68% of its players are fully jabbed against Covid-19 – a figure which lags behind other top European leagues. It was also reported last week a quarter of players in the EFL have no intention of getting the vaccine.

Swansea, who sit 12th in the Championship, currently have two players isolating after returning positive tests. Both are said to have had at least one vaccine.

Asked if he would encourage his players to get fully vaccinated, Martin said he believed it was down to each individual to make a choice on the matter.

“I am not anti-vaccine by the way, not at all,” he said. “I am pro-choice, as I have before.

“We have a huge number of players that have had both jabs. A couple have already had their boosters. Most of the staff are vaccinated and have had boosters. Some haven’t, same with some of the players.

“It’s all about freedom of choice, which is slowly being vilified or taken away.

“We had two players isolating recently who didn’t have it, their kids had it. We just have to accept that’s the situation. I certainly don’t change my opinion on someone whether they’ve had a vaccine or not.”

He added: “If we have to miss them because of a choice they have made with their own body, that’s the risk they face of not being in the team, being out of the team and losing their place,” he said.

“Obviously it’s disappointing if we have to lose someone but it all goes back to no-one is in control of what they want to put in their body. That’s my view on it whether you agree or disagree.

“I don’t think it’s ever happened before in my lifetime, where we are told what we have to do, so they all have a choice.”

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