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

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The NFL has added an additional COVID-19 vaccination incentive for players, threatening forfeitures and loss of game controls if an outbreak among unvaccinated players causes an unsolvable disruption to the regular season schedule.

Commissioner Roger Goodell informed clubs of the new policy in a memo on Thursday. The league has encouraged, but has not required, vaccination for players, according to an agreement with the NFL Players Association.

Instead, the competition has set up a series of incentives. On Thursday, Goodell wrote that more than 75% of NFL players were at least partially vaccinated, and more than half of the league’s teams have player vaccination rates of more than 80%.

Unvaccinated players will be subject to strict protocols during training camp and the regular season, including daily tests, mask wearing and travel restrictions. Thursday’s memo made it clear that unvaccinated players could in theory also be responsible for loss of games and paychecks.

The new policy addresses a scenario that never happened in 2020, when the NFL postponed five games and moved 10 others to accommodate outbreaks. A lump sum will be invoked in 2021 if all of the following circumstances occur:

A match is postponed at the request of government agencies or medical experts, or at the Commissioner’s discretion, due to ongoing health problems in an outbreak.

The league cannot find a suitable date to move within the 18-week period of the regular season.

The original postponement was caused by an outbreak among unvaccinated players from one team.

The NFL was able to reschedule all the games it postponed in 2020, but it may not go to the same extremes — like playing a game on a Tuesday or Wednesday — as it did during the first pandemic season.

According to the memo, “Whether a postponed game should be rescheduled will depend on health and safety reasons on the recommendation of medical experts, as well as considerations of stadium availability, schedule integrity, fans’ convenience and other pertinent matters.” .”

If the forfeit occurs, players from both teams will lose their match checks. The team affected by the outbreak would be responsible for any deficit in the revenue-sharing pool and would also face a playoff placement loss, with the opposing team taking a win.

According to Caesars William Hill, if a game is forfeited, a bet on the standard spread, money line and total bet on that game is voided.

“These operating principles are designed to enable us to play a full season in a safe and responsible manner,” Goodell wrote, “and honestly address potential competitive or financial problems. We cannot be complacent or simply assume that without interruption – whether due to Covid outbreaks at our clubs or outbreaks within the wider community.These principles are intended to help make informed decisions, recognizing that, as in 2020, we will need to remain flexible and adapt to possible changing circumstances.”

According to the memo, if an outbreak among vaccinated players causes a match to be postponed, the league will “try to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams.”

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