Footballers will enjoy luxury in quarantine while public complain of ‘prison’ conditions

On one hand, modern hotels, lavish meals prepared by the safe hands of a club chef and daily trips out for training. On the other, gruesome meals and cramped rooms. It is not difficult to guess which of these options belongs to a Premier League footballer this week and which to the general public.

This is the new inescapable reality in these turbulent times as the world continues to move on from the coronavirus pandemic. Football will press on, and in doing so players will be afforded luxury where, for many others, there is none.

Critics have been quick to point out the sheer hypocrisy of it all. 

After a change in regulations from the government, fully vaccinated players returning over the next few days from red-list countries after playing international football will be able to avoid the strict 10-day spells in hotel quarantine that they were forced to undertake during the chaos of the last international break.

Instead, they will be housed for the same period, but in ‘bespoke quarantine facilities’. Despite being cut off from their family, friends and the public, the outlook of their everyday life while holed up will be very different.  

Premier League footballers will enjoy relative luxury during their 10-day quarantine periods

Tottenham's players are likely to stay at The Lodge, state-of-the-art accommodation in Enfield

Tottenham’s players are likely to stay at The Lodge, state-of-the-art accommodation in Enfield

The isolation is not exactly around the clock, either. This is because players who have received both jabs will be allowed out once a day to train or play, allowing them to keep up their fitness levels and avoid missing out on matches.

On the flip side, those not fully inoculated will still have to spend the entire 10 days in 24-hour quarantine at a hotel – and, to make sure footballers stick to the rules before they travel, they will also sign a code of conduct. 

This includes restrictions on transport and close contact, as well as protocols over testing, vaccinations and bio-secure bubbles. Food will be delivered and left outside their doors, with all face-to-face contact cut off entirely. 

The bedrooms are fully sound proof and the mattresses are the same as at the players' homes

The bedrooms are fully sound proof and the mattresses are the same as at the players’ homes

What are the quarantine rules for footballers?

Fully vaccinated players returning from red-list countries this week will avoid the 10-day spells in hotel quarantine that they were forced to undertake after the last international break.

They will be housed for the same period, but in ‘bespoke quarantine facilities’.

Players who have received both jabs will be allowed out once a day to train.  

They will sign a conduct of conduct based on transport restrictions, close contact, testing, vaccinations and bio-secure bubbles.

Food will be delivered to them and left outside their door to avoid face-to-face contact entirely.

Any players breaching their quarantine would lose their eligibility for their exemption and would face full isolation in a hotel as normal. 

Those not fully inoculated will have to spend the entire 10 days in 24-hour quarantine at a hotel, just like the general public.   

Should they fail to comply by leaving their accommodation for prohibited reasons, they would then lose their eligibility for the new exemption. This would see them face up to the full hotel quarantine for the whole period. 

When returning to the UK, those with one jab or none will be obliged to see out their mandatory quarantine in the hotels used by the members of the public, who would follow the same steps after travelling to a red-list nation.

As it stands, players are able to choose the hotel they stay in, but Public Health England will also be involved. It is this exception that opens the door for them to receive five-star treatment after joining back up with their clubs.

Meals will be prepared for them, and they will be a far cry from the slop that members of the public have complained they have been served during their own quarantine experiences. The hotels footballers will use to quarantine in will be state-of-the-art, guaranteeing a comfortable stay. 

For example, Spurs’ players would be able to isolate at The Lodge, a 40-bedroom, two floor building used to delivering the highest quality private accommodation and treatment facilities. Better yet, it is located next to their training centre.

Each footballer has their own room, which is designed to help them feel at home. They will typically stay there before and after fixtures, and former manager Jose Mourinho was known to make extensive use of the luxuries there.

The club have gone to incredible lengths to ensure The Lodge is as welcoming as it possibly can be. The attention to detail is immaculate, with the mattresses on the players’ beds exactly the same as the ones back at their houses.

High-level club chefs will provide players with their food, which is delivered to their door

High-level club chefs will provide players with their food, which is delivered to their door

The Lodge has 40 bedrooms and delivers high quality accommodation and treatment facilities

The Lodge has 40 bedrooms and delivers high quality accommodation and treatment facilities

It has been known that some stars have asked to take their pillow cases and duvet covers back with them. Another standout benefit is the 100 per cent noise cancelling insulation, helping them to avoid being woken up at night.

Manchester United, meanwhile, may not have purpose-built accommodation at their Carrington complex, but the Lowry Hotel would represent yet another lavish location for the members of their squad that need to quarantine.  

Manchester United make use of the lavish Lowry Hotel in the city before their home fixtures

Manchester United make use of the lavish Lowry Hotel in the city before their home fixtures

A five-star premium stay for the rich and famous, the site is used extensively by United ahead of their home games. The club block book tens of the plush double rooms for many nights throughout the season. 

There is a refurbished spa and gym there, sanctioned after a hefty £4million investment, and, again, Mourinho opted to stay there in comfort during his spell in charge of United, instead of splashing out on a flat inside the city centre.

When players likely stay there for the 10 days later this month, they will have their food dished up for them by chefs trained in fine dining, and will also be able to head to and from United’s training pitches and matches.

Asked about the new restrictions for footballers, which are now in place for the current international break, the government stressed that a middle ground has been found between safety and keeping sport on the road.

Overlooking Trinity Bridge on the River Irwell, the hotel offers the players luxurious rooms

Overlooking Trinity Bridge on the River Irwell, the hotel offers the players luxurious rooms

United's stars may choose to make use of the Lowry Hotel to house them during their isolation

United’s stars may choose to make use of the Lowry Hotel to house them during their isolation

A spokesman said: ‘We have worked closely with football authorities to achieve an outcome that balances the interests of both club and country while maintaining the highest levels of public health and safety.

‘Our best defence against the virus is vaccination and these new measures will allow fully vaccinated players to fulfil their international duties in the safest, most practical way possible, while allowing them to train and play with their clubs.’

But what about everyone else? Ordinarily, arrivals from red-list countries would be required to quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel. They would also be forced to pay to stay there, at a cost of £2,285 for one adult.

These costs do not guarantee comfort, however, with many travellers having highlighted the ‘prison-like’ conditions. Also sharing images of ‘inedible’ food, they shared their poor experiences at a hotel situated in the centre of London.

The conditions for footballers are a stark contrast to the experiences for the average traveller

The conditions for footballers are a stark contrast to the experiences for the average traveller

Several of those who quarantined at President Hotel in London lambasted their difficult stay

Several of those who quarantined at President Hotel in London lambasted their difficult stay

President Hotel, in Guilford Road, London, is described on its own website as the ‘perfect base’ that allows guests to soak up ‘all that London has to offer’, but the reality has proven to be anything but that for some residents.

Several guests, who say they endured a ‘nightmare’ there after paying for the pleasure, took photos of the measly portions offered up to them in polystyrene boxes, which arrived outside their door three times a day.

Indeed, Garikayi Madzudzo lodged an official complaint regarding the quality of food to Imperial London Hotels, the company behind the three-star President Hotel. He said he was forced to order food and drinks from other outlets. 

‘As you can see from the pictures of the meals provided, the portions and the quality of food is way, way below standard,’ his complaint read.

The red-list rules for the general public

‘Ordinary’ travellers from red list countries arriving in the UK have to stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel for 11 nights on their return – at a cost of £2,285.

The rules apply to travellers, who have been in a red list country during the previous 10 days, and they are in force regardless of whether a person has been fully vaccinated.

The quarantine has to be booked in advance. Failure to do so can lead to a fine of £4,000, with the hotel bill on top.

In addition to the 10-day quarantine period, people travelling from the red list countries must also arrange for two Covid-19 tests during their hotel stay.

Alleging it provided neither the ‘required nutrition’ or a balance ‘to promote healthy living’, he added: ‘The hotel is full and available security staff are struggling to cope with the demand to take people outside for their 15mins of exercise. 

‘The standards that this facility is operating on are unacceptable and do not equate to the £1750 that l was charged. 

‘This hotel has failed in meeting acceptable food standards.’

In another horror story, Luciana Andrade and her husband Brian Muscat made numerous complaints to the Department of Health and Social Care, alleging he experienced ‘prison solitary confinement conditions’ at President Hotel.

She said that the meals he was served up were ‘small, bad quality, not fresh’, adding: ‘A typical meal is a bit of chicken with 2 baby potatoes in a Styrofoam box. 

‘How can anyone in the British government sleep at night, when in our own soil we are subjecting law-abiding, negative COVID tested citizens to prison solitary confinement conditions?’ 

A law firm based in London have insisted that the hotel quarantine policy is a ‘fundamental breach’ of human rights, having previously chased a judicial review of the blanket approach to the restrictions.  

Tom Goodhead, managing partner at PGMBM, said: ‘It’s disappointing that the government hasn’t yet realised that this policy is a fundamental breach of people’s human rights.

‘Law abiding citizens who have been double vaccinated should be free from quarantine. The idea that they need to pay for the privilege of their own imprisonment is outrageous.’

He added: ‘The people that are contacting us for help every day are not reckless globetrotters. They are typically people who have been forced to travel to care for relatives or attend funerals of their parents or siblings.’

A spokeswoman for the Department for Health and Social Care said: ‘Our top priority has always been protecting the public and the robust border and testing regime we have in place is helping minimise the risk of new variants coming into the UK.

The standard of the food offered in some hotels has been criticised by those paying thousands

The standard of the food offered in some hotels has been criticised by those paying thousands

In a statement, the government insisted those in quarantine will 'get the support they need'

In a statement, the government insisted those in quarantine will ‘get the support they need’

‘The government continues to ensure every person in quarantine gets the support they need and all managed quarantine facilities are accommodating the vast majority of people’s requirements.

‘Hotels do their utmost to take any necessary steps to address concerns raised by guests.’ 

And while the divide in treatment between footballers and the standard traveller is plain to see, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has still railed against the new rule, saying that players will not be adequately looked after. 

‘Countries like France, Germany and Spain see things differently so when their players come back they can lead normal lives,’ Klopp said.

Countries on the UK’s red list

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Georgia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mayotte, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe

‘But our players have to quarantine, have their food delivered to their hotel door, cannot have visitors. They are with their international teams for 10 or 12 days, then a 10-day quarantine. With the food delivered to their doors.

‘That is 22 days and then two weeks later there is another international break. What I don’t like is that it doesn’t seem to me that this has been thought through.

‘It feels like someone opened a door in the government and said: “Hey, what are we going to do about these footballers?” But come on boys, we take players out of normal life for three weeks when actually there is no real reason.

‘We need to take care of the players not put them in a hotel and deliver the food to their door. That’s just not right. 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has hit out at the new rule placing footballers inside hotels

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has hit out at the new rule placing footballers inside hotels

‘We are just moving the responsibility to the players and if you don’t like it, don’t go with your international team. It’s not right and it is not OK.’

So, while the rule bending spares the wrath of FIFA once again, questions have rightly been raised over the difference, with the argument of ‘one rule for them, another for us’ levelled at the government.

With this international break nearing an end, there is no prospect of another rollback, however. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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