The PFA has told its members that players must follow lockdown rules without exception, as coronavirus case rates continue to rise

PFA has urged its members to remember the “vital importance” of following coronavirus and club protocols as the United Kingdom enters a third period of national lockdown

The Premier League on Tuesday confirmed that 40 players and staff members – a new high – had tested positive for the virus over the most recent two rounds of testing, up from 18 the previous week.

Three matches in England’s top flight were postponed over the festive period, while a number of EFL games have also been unable to take place.

The PFA released a statement, which read: “Following the announcement of a third national lockdown, the PFA would like to reinforce the message that players must follow the current COVID-19 rules and club protocols as a matter of vital importance.

“In a close-knit football environment, the ramifications of any rule breaches are potentially hugely damaging for fellow players, clubs and the game as a whole.

“It is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved that the vast majority of matches have gone ahead as scheduled and the risks to players, staff and their families have been well managed and kept to a minimum.

“Although prospects are brighter due to the vaccine’s imminent rollout, players must continue to take the lead and act responsibly and professionally.

“Between now and the end of the season, we ask that you continue to take personal responsibility and follow the lockdown rules, without exception.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that players have a unique position to inspire and influence society positively.

“Your compliance with the national restrictions sets the right example to millions of fans and young people. Following the rules is also the best way to protect your loved ones, your colleagues and their families from harm.”

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