A new Covid-19 strategy is set to incentivise players and management to be fully vaccinated, English rugby’s Professional Game Board has announced.
The policy is set to allow Premiership, Championship and women’s Premier 15s clubs to relax some elements of current Covid-19 minimum operating standards once a vaccination rate of 85 per cent or more has been reached in both the player and staff groups.
The changes only currently apply in English domestic rugby, with the new policy having come into effect on Monday.
Match-day changes for those clubs meeting the vaccination rate include social distancing for players and support staff within the so-called red zone – which includes changing rooms – no longer being required, and masks being recommended, but no longer compulsory, for players and support staff indoors and outdoors.
Medical staff will continue to wear appropriate personal protective equipment for their roles and masks must still be worn by players in the medical room.
PGB chairman Chris Booy said: “The health and safety of everyone involved in the elite game is our priority and we know it is vital we ensure the vast majority of players and management are fully vaccinated as soon as possible.
“It is still a personal choice as to whether you receive a vaccination.
“But we want to strongly encourage as many players and staff as possible to be vaccinated so that we can proactively contribute as much as possible to the safety of our wider communities and of our players, staff and supporters.
“While we hope that there will be no need to reverse any of these proposed changes, the PGB will continue to review all minimum operating standards in line with Government advice.”
Meanwhile, ex-Harlequins physiotherapist Steph Brennan was struck off for misconduct on this day in 2010 following his role in the infamous Bloodgate scandal.
The call was made by the Health Professions Council’s conduct and competence committee following a hearing in London.
Brennan had been serving a two-year suspension from the sport and was working in private practice. He admitted to five instances – including Bloodgate – of faking blood injuries.