17 footballers remain in UK

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Chairman of the Oversight Committee Dr Jimmie Rodgers
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Players under government’s support

BY PETER ZOLEVEKE II

‘SEVENTEEN’ out of the 31 Royals Football Academy players remained back in the United Kingdom, two of which tested positive to covid-19 along with their close contacts – and will be under the government’s support there.

Sixteen of the returning footballers are already in the country on the Auckland repatriation flight on Sunday 25th, four of which were ‘red flagged’ upon arrival and later tested positive.

In a press conference yesterday, Chairman of the Oversight Committee Dr Jimmie Rodgers assured that the remaining players will return once the government arranges them to repatriate.

“On the soccer boys, sixteen arrived and seventeen still in UK. Of the ones that are in UK still supports them until flights are arranged for their return,” Dr Rodgers responded when asked.

The players have been stranded in UK since the beginning of this year; they have played their stint with Stars Football Academy and 9th-tier English league clubs.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his nationwide address revealed that the returning footballers were tested negative three times.

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 “They each sent their filled questionnaires. However, our contact tracing had already established that not all the questions were answered truthfully,” the Prime Minister said.

Sogavare also said that one of who was positive refused to wear a mask during the flight sidestepping standard requirements.

“We know who that individual is, and both he and the nation, need to know that his selfish actions in the plane had put many more passengers that came in on the flight last night at greater risk of exposure to the virus, and he had put our country in danger,” he said.

The four cases are now in the National Referral Hospital (NRH) Isolation units, while the other 12 players remained in shared rooms (two each room) at the quarantine site according to the government’s ‘risk management’.

“The football players they shared rooms before they came, so the sharing room arrangement from there is maintained over here. Part of our challenge is that we don’t have enough rooms for single rooms. So where the risk is already exposed we retained the same risk,” Dr Rodgers cleared.

PM Sogavare meanwhile firmly cautioned that responsibly authorities will certainly deal with those people after their completion of required quarantine period.

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