United Kingdom

Stopping players celebrating a ‘joke’

Cardiff City, seen here celebrating a goal in December, are currently 15th in the Championship

Cardiff City manager Neil Harris has dubbed efforts to stop footballers from celebrating goals as “a joke”.

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch wrote to clubs warning them against “complacency” over Covid-19 protocols.

But former Millwall and Cardiff striker Harris believes its impossible to control goal celebrations, saying: “If they are that worried, stop the game.”

The Bluebirds boss added: “But they were not that worried last week when they made teams play in the FA Cup with kids in the team. Honestly it’s a joke.

“Once it’s on the pitch let the players get on with it. We are being tested twice a week. If they are that worried, the authorities stop it.”

Aston Villa played in the FA Cup against Liverpool with none of their first team involved after a coronavirus outbreak.

As a player, Harris was Millwall’s record scorer with 140 goals in 486 appearances.

He described his usual celebration as “one hand up and wait to be jumped on by my team-mates”.

Harris said: “I can tell my players to adhere to the laws, adhere to be sensible around the training ground. We can follow the protocol every day, we can follow it on match day as well.

“But the raw emotion of scoring a goal in that heat of the moment, you cannot control that.

“Calm people might be able to score, think about it and say ‘oh actually, yes, we have to be careful.’ But if they are that worried about, it stop the game. Stop playing.

“Everyone is being careful with the measures we are going to, to enable football to continue, because of the the importance of it in society and mental health and for people to be able to watch it on television is huge at the moment. I get that.

“But some parts of it are really hard to contain and goal celebrations in that moment are difficult. It’s hard to stop players shaking hands in the changing room in the heat of the moment.

“With managers on the side lines, you go to fist pump and all of a sudden you are shaking hands – it’s natural instinct.

“We are all trying our best to do it but controlling goal celebrations is really tough.”

Harris hopes to have Wales striker Kieffer Moore available for Saturday’s home game with Championship leaders Norwich City.

Moore has been out with a hamstring problem since the derby defeat by Swansea City on 12 December.

The Cardiff manager is hoping to draft in a forward player in the next 48 hours, while Northern Ireland winger Gavin Whyte looks set to move on loan to League One side Hull City.

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