FOOTBALLERS should not be forced to take pre-travel PCR Covid tests just to play against Jersey Bulls – because some people ‘don’t believe in Covid’.
That is the view of Beckenham Town officials after their side pulled out of Saturday’s Combined Counties Premier South fixture at Springfield due to a handful of players refusing to adhere to regulations for inbound passengers. And the Kent outfit insist they will not fulfil the fixture with an understrength squad.
Since Tuesday, anyone travelling to Jersey needs either to be fully vaccinated or have a negative PCR test before travel to avoid quarantine.
‘The PCRs are the problem,’ said Beckenham secretary Peter Palmer.
‘In England, there are ten million unvaccinated people. The reason: they don’t believe in Covid. You can’t change people’s minds.
‘We’re not coming over like the other clubs, who come over with half a team. That’s not fair on the league.’
Palmer said the cost of the pre-travel PCRs is also a concern – as is the threat of being forced to take time off work if they test positive.
‘I can’t force them to take the tests, but according to Jersey you have to,’ he added.
‘If they [the players] take a PCR test and it becomes positive, they have to stay indoors for ten days and they are just working-class people.’
What happens next is in the hands of the Combined Counties League.
Its chairman, Chris Conlon, said: ‘It’s not an easy situation. Obviously the restrictions mean people need to be fully vaccinated or take a PCR test before they travel.
‘Most clubs are managing that and it isn’t a big problem. In Beckenham’s case, they are finding it more of a problem to meet those requirements.’
Full story in Thursday’s JEP.