The government today explained the Ryan Christie situation when Jason Leitch was sent out to address Celtic’s concerns on the radio.
It made sense, as far as it goes, but it still leaves us with a ridiculous contradiction which really breaks down to a simple fact.
If Edouard, who has the virus, is asymptomatic and returns a negative test, his self-isolation period ends and he can play against Sevco. Ryan Christie, who does not have the virus, and remains asymptomatic, has to continue self-isolating for the next fortnight even if he returns multiple negative tests including on the day of the match itself.
I understand it. Of course I do. The virus can take 14 days to show symptoms.
But it’s detectible in the blood at an early stage, so if he’s testing negative all the way through the coming week then he’s not got it.
Leitch compared football players to workers in call centres; as far as I’m concerned that was a little bit of “we’re all in this together” blowing smoke.
Call centre workers should be – but aren’t – tested with the same regularity as footballers.
They aren’t socially isolating in “bubbles” to the extent footballers are. Careful monitoring, I completely get it and support it. If I’d been in contact with someone who’d returned a positive test I would self-isolate for 14 days and not question that at all.
But if I was getting routine testing done, if I was asymptomatic, and if every test was coming back negative, I might conclude that I was doing it for nothing.
Ryan Christie played a game of FIFA with Stuart Armstrong and Kieran Tierney, that seems to be the upshot of it.
As far as we know, Armstrong was not showing symptoms and isn’t now … it’s not even clear, from the literature or the science, how easily asymptomatic individuals can spread this … we know they can, hence the caution, but it’s not easily done.
Which brings us to the hotel room element.
The problem, we can assume, is that these guys shared a room; well I have to ask, isn’t that a policy in drastic need of changing whilst this is going on? Would it be expensive for every player to have his own room? Yes, of course it would be, but surely to God, and especially on international duty, it’s a far more sensible policy than the current one.
I mean, does it really take brain cells to work this stuff out?
Look, I am not going to try and second guess the government and their scientists – enough people are doing that already, people who wouldn’t swap jobs with the folks made to take these decisions for all the money in the world.
But this particular regulation seems plainly contradictory in the way it is laid out.
You cannot, on the one hand, pretend footballers are just like everyone else but still allow them to travel to and from other countries would quarantining.
You cannot ask them to follow strict social distancing guidelines which are far more severe than members of the public are asked to observe, and then lump them in with call centre workers when it suits you to.
Celtic asked for clarity, but what I think we’re really asking for is a little bit of common sense.
This is not the last time this is going to happen. Far from it.