Luton boss believes footballers have to 'batten down the hatches' after coming under the microscope during coronavirus pandemic

Hatters boss Nathan JonesHatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Town chief gives his thoughts on new guidelines

Luton boss Nathan Jones believes that footballers will have to 'batten down the hatches' for the next few weeks after coming under criticism during the coronavirus pandemic.

With a number of players from the top flight breaking protocols in the past month, the Football Association, Premier League, EFL and Barclays Women’s Super League have this week introduced enhanced COVID-19 measures and stressed their importance to everyone in the game by writing to all clubs.

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After footage emerged of players celebrating their FA Cup wins inside dressing rooms, clubs have been reminded of their responsibilities, with 'handshakes, high fives and hugs must be avoided' in the aftermath of scoring a goal.

When asked if he had spoken to his players about the stricter guidelines, Jones said: "It has come under the microscope because it’s elite sport and it’s producing.

"Right now, what anyone has to do that’s allowed to continue in the work is (have) a sense of responsibility that everyone has to buy into.

"The next two weeks are going to be the worst, because that’s been a knock-on effect and they’ll be people isolating, positive tests, because it’s a hangover from when this new variant has come into society and has kicked on.

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"Now they’ve shut the schools and everything else has been shut down then that’ll start to slow. It takes two or three weeks for that to come out in the open.

“That’s why footballers will have to batten down the hatches for the next couple of weeks.

“After that, as long as football is sensible and as long as people are sensible in clubs and away from clubs, then it can continue to operate.

“But, yes, we’ve spoken to ours. It didn’t help that it was the FA Cup weekend here with a lot of non-league sides, one or two upsets and people putting on social media that everyone was hugging and things like that.

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"That didn’t help, but if we go back to league action, not many sides celebrate like that from just a league win, so a lot of perspective has to be put on it.

"We have a responsibility as humans and as works allowed to do their job, to adhere to all the rules."

Jones did believe that his squad knew just what a privileged position they were in to be able to continue playing despite the country in another national lockdown though.

He confirmed the club has tightened up their measures even further too, adding: "They are very aware because the reality is that we’ve had a game called off (against QPR).

"We don’t want any more games called off.

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"If they want to go back into a lockdown where they were bored stiff, stuck at home, home-schooling and having to work out in the garden, in the sunshine then fine, but it’ll be pouring down now, so if they don’t want to go back to that then everyone has to adhere and everyone has to be sensible.

"It’s more rampant now because we have a new variant, but the thing we have now is protocols and a vaccine.

"As long as people are sensible and it hits home that we are very privileged to do what we do, and I’m very grateful for that, then it can continue and continue safely.

"Yes, there are certain things like fist bumps and so on, but as long as you sanitise and do all the right things that we’ve been told to do since last March, then you can continue to do that.

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“We continue to do our work, we’re very sensible with face masks, sanitiser, we’re massive distances, not just two metres, even bigger.

"There’s no big groups, or big group meetings and things like that, so all the sensible things that have to be adhered and, if you continue to do that, then of course you can continue to do it.

"It’s very difficult because a lot of people have just been blanketly shut down and it’s harsh.

"One of my family members is in the arts, he’s a West End actor and he’s suffering badly for it.

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"It’s really difficult so I’m very grateful to be able to do it.

"But I’m one that (thinks), if we are sensible and we do adhere to it, then of course football can (continue).

"I’m involved in it and I see that if we adhere to everything, then we can continue to have negative tests week in, week out and continue to be sensible.

“It’s when people go out into society when it’s not quite adhered to and then schools are a big thing, I do understand, because children can carry it and pass it on and it can create problems.

"If the whole country can be sensible then we can continue to come through this and continue to let certain things continue, which help mood, mental state and so on.”

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