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Lampard torn on players' ability to celebrate as pandemic bites


Chelsea manager Frank Lampard won't say whether he'll direct his players to refrain from celebrating goals on the pitch. 

The FA, Premier League, EFL and WSL have launched a joint statement urging clubs to adhere to their enhanced coronavirus measures.

Players are being asked not to hug when celebrating a goal, shake hands, or swap shirts after games.

The statement says the organisations "have confidence" the season will reach a "successful conclusion".

There has been criticism of some of the unnecessary close contact during matches - particularly goal celebrations - as the COVID-19 pandemic bears its teeth in the UK.

But Lampard refused to put his foot down regarding Chelsea celebrations, "We have been told that recently and there are meetings about this today and tomorrow to reinforce that to the players.

Football has and always will be a game of instinct. If we want to take the instinct out of the game then it is not that simple.

"The players are good lads and they don't want to do the wrong thing. They are being asked to do their job through this tough time and they are doing it.

"When they are on the pitch and if they score a goal, we will try to adapt slightly as best we can.

"In the perfect world, we would all walk back to the halfway line and just start again but with football, it may not quite be the case.

"I don't think you can hold footballers hugely to account as clearly flouting those rules. It is not an easy line to draw in the game, in football."

Lampard feels football's special position in being allowed to continue at elite level offers players some leeway.

He refutes claims of arrogance being thrown at footballers in recent days, "I think, just to be clear, footballers aren’t doing what everyone else is being asked. Some people are being asked to work from home, footballers aren’t.

“They are taking themselves into an environment where potentially...maybe not putting themselves in danger, but maybe the family they are going home to: a pregnant wife, a grandparent, a parent, a brother, a sister.

“We have to understand that footballers are human as well and they are being asked to go and do their job at this moment.

“If you understand football and understand the passion and the instinct that every fan has, every person in the street has if they love football, they understand that it can bring out emotions in you.

“So to control the emotions is a fair ask, but to dictate emotion will probably be very difficult on the pitch. Let’s just see how this goes because as it goes along we will see if players can control it. I hope they can.

“This beautiful game that we love does bring emotions out on the pitch.

"I want to be really clear about is that players are being asked to come to work and they are doing everything they can to toe the line as is hopefully every person in the public to get us through this."

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