Frank Lampard insists his players will do their utmost to avoid hugging when they celebrate goals even if football’s natural instincts make that difficult.
With Covid-19 cases and deaths in England at record levels and the country in lockdown, there has been much scrutiny of late on footballers’ behaviour. The Premier League have released new guidelines this week aimed at limiting contact, instructing ‘handshakes, high fives and hugs’ to be avoided.
Lampard is certainly understanding of the need to socially distance as much as possible and in his assessment of the current situation, he wanted to highlight the fact footballers are going to work during a pandemic and in other facets of life are obeying the rules.
‘Players don’t want to do the wrong thing,’ said Lampard.
‘When they are on the pitch and they score a goal we will try and adapt as well as we can. In a perfect world we would walk back to the halfway line and start again, but with football maybe it won’t quite be the case. I don’t think you can hold players hugely to account unless there is clear flouting of those rules.
‘But we need to do our best. Protocols are in place, they have been hardened recently and I understand why. We will try to do the best as we are told to keep minimising the threat we know this virus holds.
‘Some people are being asked to work from home, and footballers aren’t,’ added Lampard.
‘They are putting themselves in an environment where they are potentially in danger but also their family who they go home to, a pregnant wife, a grandparent, a parent, a brother, a sister. We have to understand footballers are human as well.
‘To control the emotions is a fair ask but to dictate emotions on the pitch will be difficult. I hope players can control it, but this beautiful game we all love does bring out emotions.’
Lampard underlined what happens at Cobham is a different matter.
'We practise social distancing as much as we can in the training ground,' he said.
'On the pitch it can be difficult at times, clearly, because you have to train and get close to each other, but in training the instinct of the moment shouldn’t grab you as much as it would do in a game when you’re scoring in the Premier League.
'So it’s definitely something I’ll pass on to the players because you see a lot of these group hugs when they win a five-a-side and that will be something we look at.'