British health officials are scolding Premier League footballers for spitting on the pitch. With swine flu outbreaks already confirmed at Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers, the HPA fears players' rampant habit of spitting could spread the disease. “It's unhygienic and unhealthy,” says an HPA spokesman. “Footballers, like the rest of us, wouldn't spit indoors so they shouldn't do it on the football pitch."
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce caused big waves this week when he said that his club probably passed the flu on to Chelsea, and lambasted the league for making them play. But the HPA isn’t just worried about players’ health. “It’s about setting examples for the young people who idolize them,” says the spokesman. “Spitting is disgusting at all times.”