Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has opted not to get the coronavirus vaccine, the Swiss Football Association has confirmed.
The 28-year-old, who is the captain of Switzerland, missed their 2-1 win over Greece on Wednesday night after testing positive for Covid-19 and having to isolate as a result.
‘Xhaka was diagnosed with symptoms on the morning of the game and was immediately isolated in his room,’ the statement from the Swiss FA said.
‘A quick test turned out negative, the subsequent PCR test, carried out to be on the safe side, produced a positive result in the evening.’
News has now come to light that Xhaka has opted not to take the coronavirus vaccine despite being offered one with the Swiss FA leaving it up to individuals to decide if they want to be vaccinated.
Swiss FA’s head of communications Adrian Arnold, as per Swiss outlet Blick, confirmed the player had rejected vaccination.
‘Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated,’ Arnold said.
‘He’s a player who isn’t vaccinated. We left this up to each player, it’s a personal decision of each player – just like any other person in Switzerland.
‘We have issued a recommendation that everyone vaccinate. But he decided for himself personally. And it is also his right not to be vaccinated.’
Arnold added: ‘All the other players in the team have been vaccinated or have recovered [from Covid] – so they are more or less safe, at least from a medical point of view. One is never quite sure.
‘Accordingly, we have a very high vaccination rate. Now, unfortunately, Granit got caught. From a sporting point of view, it is a shame for us at this important moment.’
Vaccines have not been made compulsory for footballers but studies and research have shown vaccines reduce an individual’s risk of catching or spreading Covid-19.
However, recent research conducted by The Telegraph showed almost a third of English Football League players have not been vaccinated against coronavirus and have no plans to get jabbed.
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