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5 Apr, 2021 17:14

Tennis icon claims bosses have ‘skirted side effects’ of ‘experimental vaccine’ and FIFA or the IOC could have ‘manipulated virus’

Tennis icon claims bosses have ‘skirted side effects’ of ‘experimental vaccine’ and FIFA or the IOC could have ‘manipulated virus’

Ex-champ Pat Cash has claimed that tennis chiefs are pushing stars to be vaccinated without giving them proper information or alternatives, adding that stars are not happy with the proposals while querying the origins of Covid-19.

Analyst and coach Cash said that he had been "shocked" to "hear a heavy push for vaccinations" at a Women's Tennis Association (WTA) meeting and suggested that there is widespread reluctance among tour professionals to receive jabs that they know little about.

Having warned of what he termed "vaccine prejudice" last month, the 55-year-old Australian has now also slammed a report that fans could use an app to enter sporting events and be seated accorded to their vaccination status, calling the idea a "joke".

"The vaccines do not prevent you from getting Covid," Cash told one respondent on Twitter.

"The WTA represent all members and must give unbiased info. 99 per cent of teams I have spoken to don’t want [to receive a vaccine] but some have taken [it] for travel etc.

"99.98 per cent of that age group recover from coronavirus. The WTA didn’t mention that, either.

"Is it too much to ask that these trials on an experimental vaccine are complete before some sort of vaccination passport is implemented? Happy to rethink the jab then."

When well-known tennis writer Ben Rothenberg reported that he had spoken to five players who were "on the hesitant, dubious and anti-vaccine spectrum", Cash reiterated: "I haven’t spoken to one player or coach here on tour who is happy to be vaccinated.

"There is very little upside for young, healthy sportspeople to have an experimental vaccine when they have no risk of being seriously ill or dying. At least 30 per cent have caught coronavirus and quickly recovered."

The WTA and male governing body the ATP have encouraged their members to be immunized, but the players who have made public statements to date have largely questioned the idea.

Leading female players Aryna Sabalenka and Elina Svitolina have both said that they do not believe the vaccine has been tested sufficiently, and Russian contender Andrey Rublev admitted that he would choose not to take a jab if he is given the option.

British ex-champion Andy Murray has said that players should be vaccinated "for the good of the sport", and top female stars Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka are ready to take the treatment, while Simona Halep became one of the first women in the sport to do so.

Cash claimed there had been "no alternate option to be heard" and "no information to players and their teams on what is actually in the vaccine" in the meeting he said he had been part of.

"They skirted over side effects and they [did not] provide any advice on how to treat Covid," he suggested.

Asked by a reader whether he needed to know the exact ingredients of everything he ingested, Cash replied: "Yes – I do know every ingredient of any medicine I take.

"Shouldn’t that be a given? And shouldn’t that be told to you by your doctor? Or are they in too much of a hurry to see the next patient?"

Cash went further on Instagram. "Maybe FIFA or the IOC [International Olympic Committee] manipulated the virus," he speculated to his thousands of followers, following his words with an emoji of a laughing face with its tongue out before adding: "It would be funny but..."

Responding to the story about the planned app, he then imagined a bizarre scenario at the tournament he won in 1987.

"This is a joke headline, isn’t it?" he asked. "Come up with your funniest but possibly real scenario.

"Wimbledon – a non-vaccinated coach and player on centre court against a vaccinated player and coach.

"One coach watches from behind a screen in the coaches' box. They play and, at the change of ends, one player goes in to a perspex box to towel down while the opponent sits in the open space with fresh air as the crowd cheers for their favorite non-vaccinated or vaccinated player.

"The winner can throw one wristband out to the fans or in to the perspex. Forget the Olympics, Davis Cup, World Cups or world title fights. This is the real rivalry: vaccinated v non-vaccinated."

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