Swansea City manager Russell Martin says players should not be forced to get jabbed “Freedom of Choice”

    Russell Martin Head Coach of Swansea City speaks to the media during the Swansea City Press Conference at The Fairwood Training Ground in Swansea, Wales, UK. Thursday 12 August 2021

    Russell Martin is convinced that he would not force any Swansea City player to get a Covid-19 vaccination and believes it would be wrong to take away “freedom of choice.”

    Two Swansea City players have been placed in isolation following adverse drug tests, while Martin claims both have taken at least one jab.

    The Swansea manager believes that forcing football players to be vaccinated is wrong.

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    Russell Martin

    “I am not anti-vaccine by the way, not at all,” said Martin.

    “I am pro-choice, as I have said to you 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.”

    Footballers should get vaccinated, according to UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston, because it is “the socially responsible thing to do” because it protects “themselves, coworkers, and loved ones.”

    The Premier League have “strongly encouraged” players to get a jab, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said it should be mandatory from “a moral point of view”.

    Clubs can lose money if their players are unvaccinated since they will have to segregate them – and potentially miss games – if they are close contacts of proven Covid-19 cases.

    Martin, on the other hand, claims that a player’s vaccination status has no bearing on his opinion of him.

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    “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 [else] is in control of what they want to put in their body. That is my opinion, whether you agree or disagree with it.

    “I don’t think it’s ever happened in my lifetime where we’re told what we have to do, so they’re all given an option.”

    Martin said the two players who have tested positive – neither of whom is symptomatic – will miss Swansea’s match against Millwall on December 26 but have been distancing themselves from the group, so he has no fears about more cases or close connections.

    Millwall’s game against Preston was called off last week due to positive cases in the squad, but Martin is hopeful that the Lions will be able to play a team on Boxing Day as Swansea attempt to end a run of three consecutive defeats.

    Last Saturday’s game at Queens Park Rangers was postponed because to Covid instances at the London club.

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    Swansea will play in front of a partisan crowd at the Den before coming home for three consecutive home games that will be played behind closed doors due to new Covid laws in Wales.

    Martin feels “frustrated” for Swansea fans who will miss watching their club play, and he is perplexed by “so much inconsistency in the rules.”

    “We have to look at the science and what people are predicting, but there’s so much information out there and you don’t know what’s misinformation and what’s not,” he said.

    “It’s been such a huge factor in everyone’s lives for two years and it’s deciding on so much now. I’m sad for the people it affects.

    “I’m disappointed we’re not going to have supporters in and the fact we can take supporters to London on Saturday, where I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more cases than there are where we’re based, doesn’t make a huge amount of sense.

    “Vaccine passports were supposed to make a big difference and now it’s changed again. We have to see what the next change is. When it arrives, let’s hope it’s a good one.”

    Aside from the players who are being isolated, whom Martin declined to name, Swansea have a complete squad for Millwall, with Ethan Laird fit despite leaving the game against Nottingham Forest on 11 December with a thigh problem.


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