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NFL warning to teams — COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated players could lead to forfeited games


The NFL has added a further COVID-19 vaccination incentive for players, threatening forfeits and the lack of recreation checks if an outbreak among unvaccinated players causes an unresolvable disruption within the regular-season schedule.

Commissioner Roger Goodell knowledgeable golf equipment of the brand new coverage Thursday in a memo. The league has inspired vaccination for players however has not required it, per an settlement with the NFL Players Association.

Instead, the league has arrange a sequence of incentives. As of Thursday, Goodell wrote, greater than 75% of NFL players have been a minimum of partially vaccinated and greater than half of the league’s teams have participant vaccination charges above 80%.

Unvaccinated players will likely be topic to extreme protocols throughout coaching camp and the common season, together with every day testing, mask-wearing and journey restrictions. Thursday’s memo made it clear that unvaccinated players could, in concept, be chargeable for the losses of games and paychecks as nicely.

The new coverage drills down on a situation that by no means occurred in 2020, when the NFL postponed 5 games and moved 10 others to accommodate outbreaks. A forfeit will likely be referred to as in 2021 if all the following circumstances happen:

• A recreation is postponed by requirement of presidency authorities or medical specialists, or on the discretion of the commissioner, due to ongoing well being considerations of an outbreak.

• The league cannot discover a appropriate date to reschedule inside the 18-week framework of the common season.

• The authentic postponement was brought on by an outbreak among unvaccinated players of 1 crew.

The NFL was ready to reschedule all the games it postponed in 2020, nevertheless it’s potential it may not go to the identical extremes — akin to taking part in a recreation on a Tuesday or Wednesday — because it did throughout its first pandemic season.

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According to the memo: “Whether to reschedule a postponed game will be dependent on health and safety reasons at the recommendation of medical experts as well as considerations of stadium availability, schedule integrity, fan convenience, and other appropriate matters.”

If the forfeit happens, players from each teams will lose their recreation checks. The crew that suffered the outbreak could be chargeable for any shortfall within the league’s revenue-sharing pool and in addition could be credited with a loss for the needs of playoff seeding, with the opposing crew credited with a win.

According to Caesars William Hill, if a recreation is forfeited, a wager for normal unfold, cash line and complete wager on that recreation will likely be voided.

“These operating principles are designed to allow us to play a full season in a safe and responsible way,” Goodell wrote, “and address possible competitive or financial issues fairly. While there is no question that health conditions have improved from last year, we cannot be complacent or simply assume that we will be able to play without interruption — either due to Covid outbreaks among our clubs or outbreaks that occur within the larger community. These principles are intended to help inform decisions, recognizing that, as in 2020, we will need to remain flexible and adapt to possibly changing conditions.”

According to the memo, if an outbreak among vaccinated players causes the postponement of a recreation, the league “will attempt to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams.”

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