Cricket Australia have been criticised for sounding out having Test squad members considered for COVID-19 vaccination before their proposed tour to South Africa in March.
Australian cricket’s players union chairman Greg Dyer has spoken out against the request which he described as ‘morally indefensible’.
“My personal view is that sportspeople generally should not be jumping the queue,” Dyer told the Herald.
“The sports can and have been managing the situation without vaccines and should continue to do so. It’s just the wrong look. There are more important people out there with much higher levels of exposure who need the vaccines first.”
Dyer made it clear he was speaking in his personal capacity but insisted that sport can continue to function with current COVID-19 protocols in place and said that requesting priority over key workers and at-risk people was not a good look for CA.
“The point to make is sports need to build protocols which don’t require vaccines and we’ve been able to, to date, and we should continue to do that until such time we’re in queue and in the appropriate spot,” Dyer said.
“It’s just wrong and will only bring all sorts of people out of the woodwork saying “what the hell’s going on here? Why are they being given this benefit?”
“It’s not morally defensible for sportspeople to jump the queue is my view and the sports have been able to manage around the position and they should continue to do so.”
Cricket Australia respond
Cricket Australia have defended holding talks with government, saying they have not requested players jump the queue for vaccines.
“The Australian men’s cricket team is scheduled to tour South Africa in February,” Chief medical officer John Orchard said in a CA statement.
“Accordingly, Cricket Australia has sought the advice of the Australian government to ensure the squad’s safe passage to and from South Africa.
“As part of those discussions, CA has requested clarification on whether the Government’s timeline on COVID-19 vaccinations aligns with the Australian team’s travel to South Africa.”
Many players have spoken publicly about their weariness at playing cricket from within so-called bio-bubbles which leave them isolated from friends and loved ones. However sports operating outside of these bubbles have been beset by issued with COVID-19 infections.
There has been a suggestion that only vaccinated athletes may be allowed to compete at the Tokyo Olympics if they are staged this year.