Granit Xhaka decided against vaccine before positive Covid test, says Swiss FA

Granit Xhaka declined to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the Swiss football federation’s head of communications has said, after it emerged that the midfielder had tested positive for coronavirus.

Xhaka’s positive test ruled him out of Switzerland’s game against Greece on Wednesday. The Arsenal player showed symptoms in the morning and although a rapid test returned a negative result, a PCR test confirmed the infection.

“Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated,” the Swiss FA’s head of communications, Adrian Arnold, was quoted by Blick. “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 said no other Switzerland players had needed to isolate in the buildup to a World Cup qualifier at home to Italy on Sunday. “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,” he said.

“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 will be suspended following the international break after being sent off in Arsenal’s 5-0 defeat at Manchester City last Saturday.

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