Premier League clubs’ digs as vaccine sites



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Anfield and Camp Nou will become vaccination centers Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

Anfield has become the latest Premier League stadium to be employed as a vaccination center as the United Kingdom fights a bitter battle against the new variant of COVID-19.

premierleague.com sources stated that from February 6th, Liverpool’s stadium joined the network of vaccination centers in the City to help facilitate the delivery of the vaccines close to where people live.

Anfield is a football stadium in Anfield, Liverpool, Merseyside, England, which has a seating capacity of 53,394, making it the seventh largest football stadium in England. It has been the home of Liverpool Football Club since their formation in 1892.

Liverpool Football Club is a professional football club in Liverpool, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. Domestically, the club has won 19 League titles, seven FA Cups, a record eight League Cups and 15 FA Community Shields.

Dr. Fiona Lemmens, a local general practitioner (GP) and Chair, NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, told the club’s official website, “We’re delighted to have the support of Liverpool Football Club for our latest vaccination location. Sport plays such an important role in the life of the City, so it’s really fitting that the club is helping us to protect our population and hopefully look forward to a point in the future when we can see some normality begin to return.”

NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for planning and buying most National Health Service (NHS) services for the people of Liverpool, including the care one receives at hospitals and in community clinics. The CCG is a membership organization which includes all Liverpool GP practices.

All vaccinations will be by appointment only and no drop-in vaccinations will be available. Those invited for a vaccination will be people registered with a GP practice linked to the groups of practices who are using the site.

The NHS stands for the National Health Service. It refers to the Government-funded medical and health care services that everyone living in the UK can use without being asked to pay the full cost of the service.
 

‘The Reds’ initiative

premierleague.com quoted Billy Hogan, Liverpool’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), as stating, “We are delighted to be supporting the vaccine rollout as part of our continued support to the City and its crucial public health strategy, and we hope that Anfield will be an easily accessible location for people to get their vaccination when they are called.”

Added Hogan, “From the beginning of the pandemic, we have been committed to supporting our local communities and to bringing a sense of normality back to our City, and hopefully Anfield, again soon.”
 

Premier League clubs to the fore

Recently, Premier League clubs Crystal Palace F.C. and Aston Villa F.C. confirmed their respective home grounds (Selhurst Park Stadium and Villa Park) had become vaccination centers, while Manchester City F.C.’s Etihad Campus has also been providing this service.

Premier League teams Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. and Manchester United F.C. have also allowed their residences (American Express Community Stadium and Old Trafford) to be used as vaccination training sites, while the car park to Tottenham Hotspur F.C.’s stadium (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) is acting as a COVID-19 testing center for the local community.

Hotel rooms at Chelsea F.C’s Stamford Bridge Stadium are again being offered to NHS staff at the local hospital.
 

Barça gesture

Camp Nou (Spain) is all lined up to serve as a vaccination center. The Generalitat de Catalunya has confirmed it is holding parleys with the Spanish professional football club FC Barcelona as regards making their residence a COVID-19 vaccine site.

Camp Nou is a football stadium in Barcelona, Spain. It opened in 1957 and has been the home stadium of FC Barcelona since its completion. With a seating capacity of 99,354, it is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe, and the fourth largest football stadium in the world in capacity.

FC Barcelona is a Spanish professional football club based in Barcelona, which competes in La Liga, the top flight of Spanish football.

The Generalitat de Catalunya, or Government of Catalonia, is the institutional system by which Catalonia politically organizes its self-Government.

The Catalan Government’s Secretary of Public Health Josep Maria Argimon told ‘Catalunya Ràdio’ that unofficial talks have already been held with Barcelona, adding the proposals have been well-received.

Catalunya Ràdio sources stated that the Generalitat is hoping to vaccinate up to 150,000 people per day, whenever it is feasible, with primary care centers targeted as the main hubs for vaccinations, along with big facilities such as sports venues, museums and universities. The Camp Nou, La Sagrada Familia (Roman Catholic minor basilica in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain) and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) (national museum of Catalan visual art located in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain) are also being discussed as sites.

Argimon observed, “We are interested in having emblematic spaces that draw the attention of the public to the need to get vaccinated. We have also thought about the Oval Room of the MNAC and other emblematic spaces of the largest cities in Catalonia.”

Catalunya Ràdio sources added that is unlikely that a quick decision would be taken on making Camp Nou a vaccine site with the club presently in the midst of an election process. Josep Maria Bartomeu quit as President of FC Barcelona in October 2020 after facing a vote of no-confidence.

Presidential elections are set for March 7th, 2021, with Joan Laporta, Víctor Font and Toni Freixa in the race to become Barça’s next leader. The winner would take the final call on the Camp Nou’s potential usage in the fight against COVID-19, as its new variant continues to whiplash Europe.

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