Granit Xhaka, who currently has Covid-19, turned down the opportunity to be vaccinated, says the Swiss Football Association.
The Arsenal midfielder missed Switzerland’s 2-1 friendly win over Greece on Wednesday night as he had tested positive for coronavirus.
His positive test raised questions over whether he had received the vaccine. The Swiss FA have confirmed the national team captain chose not to be vaccinated.
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“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 vaccinates. But he decided for himself personally. And it is also his right not to be vaccinated.”
Arnold said the majority of Switzerland’s players have been vaccinated.
He 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.
Xhaka was sent off in Arsenal’s 5-0 loss to Manchester City on August 28, meaning he is already banned for Arsenal’s home game against Norwich after the international break, but will likely have recovered in time to face Burnley on September 18.
Mikel Arteta said before Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Brentford last month that most of the squad are double vaccinated.
He said: “Most of them are double vaccinated. Others, they have one vaccine.
“We are trying to encourage them to get vaccinated because they are going to protect themselves, their families, obviously the environment around the club. But it is a really personal matter and we are trying to guide them and explain the reasons why it is better to do it. But, at the end, it’s a personal decision.
“It is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting the people around us as well. I think it is a gesture of generosity.
“I don’t know if somebody is completely convinced at the beginning to do it, but you see that the benefits at the moment are much bigger.”
The Telegraph reported this week that one third of English Football League (EFL) footballers have no plans to get the vaccine.
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