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Premier League CEO says players must follow celebration rules

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters stressed on Friday that players must follow guidelines discouraging group celebrations during matches.

The sight of players huddling after goals has drawn criticism in Britain, with the rest of the population asked to adhere to strict COVID-19 distancing rules during the pandemic.

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Clubs were reminded of league guidelines this week including that handshakes, high-fives and hugging should be avoided and Masters stressed on Friday that players must follow the rules.

“The players get it,” Masters told BBC Sport.

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“They know we’re asking them now again to adjust their behaviours on the pitch, in goal celebrations and around the beginning and the end of matches.

“We’re asking them to adapt and understand why you’ve got to follow the rules and you’ve got to set a good example.”

Julian Knight, the chair of the cross-party Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, said on Thursday that players should be shown yellow cards for celebrating goals.

But Premier League managers are sceptical about asking players not to celebrate with their teammates.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praised his team for their steadfastness during the pandemic and said he didn’t expect any rules breaches after a goal this weekend, though admitted emotion will be difficult to overcome.

“The boys so far have done an incredible job to be disciplined, with all the things we had to do around the virus and the pandemic, and I know they will try to do their best,” he said.

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“I know if there is something to celebrate [on Sunday] it will be in an appropriate way, but it will be difficult.

“It’s instinct. Football is an emotional game.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose Manchester United side face Liverpool on Sunday, said his players will give it their best shot.

“I cannot promise anything, but of course, if the players can control themselves that would be best. Then again, football is about passion and instant moments,” he said.

“We are role models and we are going to do our best if we get the chance to celebrate, so let’s hope we get one.”

Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho asked his players to enjoy the moment by themselves.

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“Probably the best way is for the goalscorer, if he wanted to celebrate in a crazy way, let him do it alone. Before we always tell players: celebrate as a team. Don’t forget the guy that assists. Don’t forget the guys fighting behind you,” he said.

“Now it’s maybe time to say celebrate alone and let the other guys go to you in a calm way.”

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