Swine flu warning to spitting soccer stars

Footballers were today warned that spitting could increase the risk of spreading swine flu as players at two Premier League clubs were struck down by the virus.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the "disgusting" habit - a common sight at many matches - could lead to infections being passed on.

Blackburn and Bolton both have a number of players showing signs of the virus ahead of their Carling Cup matches this week.

The HPA said spitting should be discouraged by football clubs as experts attempt to halt the spread of the infection.

"Spitting is disgusting at all times. It's unhygienic and unhealthy, particularly if you spit close to other people," said a HPA spokesman.

"Footballers, like the rest of us, wouldn't spit indoors so they shouldn't do it on the football pitch.

"If they are spitting near other people it could certainly increase the risk of passing on infections.

"Certainly, spitting is a nasty habit that should be discouraged - and it should be discouraged by the football clubs.

"It's about setting examples for young people who idolise them."

He added footballers should follow the same guidelines as other members of the public by washing their hands, covering their mouth when sneezing and disposing of used tissues.

"The advice is catch it, bin it, kill it," he said.

The Football Association and Barclays Premier League said they were following guidance from health experts in handling the issue.

"As ever, when it comes to health matters the Premier League will be guided by the relevant statutory authorities," said a Premier League spokesman.



Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti gave his squad a clean bill of health after their victory over Blackburn last Saturday was overshadowed by cases of swine flu among the Rovers squad.

The Blues were told Blackburn had a problem with the H1N1 virus the day before their clash, but Ancelotti is unconcerned some of his players may yet develop flu-like symptoms.



"I'm not worried," said Ancelotti. "The flu is not only on the pitch, it's everywhere. We take all the precautions and we want to think about playing, that's it.



"We are not worried about this problem because we've taken all the precautions."



Bolton travel to Stamford Bridge for their Carling Cup fourth-round tie tomorrow but manager Gary Megson - who has already seen four of his own players come down with and recover from the virus - was not concerned about it spreading during a match.



Asked if he was worried about his players coming into contact with Chelsea's, Megson said: "Not from that perspective because I've heard varying opinions.



"I think the one we all need to listen to is that from the medical people, who are saying that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to contract it in that way.



"They are all okay at the moment but it wouldn't be right to start giving you names."



Manchester City manager Mark Hughes believes most Premier League stars are capable of recovering from swine flu in a matter of days.



City defender Micah Richards was struck down while on holiday in Cyprus in the summer.



Hughes said: "What you find with Premier League clubs is that there are a lot of young, fit, energetic guys.



"If they do get it, they are only laid low for a couple of days. They soon get over it because they are fit and healthy and are not compromised too much."

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition