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Premier League huggers are accused of 'insulting' health workers

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Premier League clubs and their stars will defy a UK government order to punish players who flout coronavirus rules despite a backlash in which group goal celebrations were described as an "insult to NHS staff".

The Premier League expects clubs to hammer home the message that players have to follow the re-introduced tougher protocols, with managers encouraged to take the lead.

The Premier League and English Football League are acutely aware that the "optics" of players hugging and celebrating are not good at a time when the public are being told to severely limit their contacts.

In the first round of top-flight matches since the UK's third national lockdown, players ignored protocols aimed at stamping out handshakes, hugs and other unnecessary physical contact during matches, leading Nigel Huddleston, the sports minister, to tell the authorities to enforce the rules "strictly".

"Footballers must follow them and football authorities enforce them - strictly."

Manchester City's players last night shared a group celebration after Phil Foden scored the winner in their Premier League match against Brighton, following similar scenes on Tuesday night.

Knight branded Tuesday night's scenes "brainless".
For more news relating to Manchester City, visit our sister site City Latest Live.
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