Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers says fans attending live sport in this country should be following social distancing protocols, after photos emerged of GAA club fans appearing to flaunt Covid-19 advice.
It comes as the country comes to terms with last night's NPHET advice that the entire country be placed under Level 5 restrictions, which would stop all sporting action.
Rogers tweeted a photo over the weekend comparing the crowd spacing at SSE Airtricity League of Ireland games with that at GAA club matches nationwide.
A photo from the stands at the Meath senior football final at the weekend appeared to show a general lack of social distancing, while videos of club celebrations in Cork showed large numbers of people gathering on the streets.
GAA social distance v SSE Airtricity league social distance 👀 pic.twitter.com/9pd57aUYZn
— Gary Rogers (@1garyrogers) October 4, 2020
Rogers, who himself has a GAA background and played at senior level with Meath over a decade ago in the National League, told OTB AM that soccer crowds have been following rules correctly.
"It was an interesting viewpoint, you see the two differences in the crowds. There's lots of evidence floating around today and I've been tagged in lots of pictures since of different grounds all over the country.
"The FAI come in for a lot of flak, and deservedly so in some cases, but in this instance the FAI have put in protocols and followed the government guidelines and passed these on to the clubs and the clubs have put them in place.
"I feel they deserve credit for doing the right thing and adhering to the guidelines. In fairness, it's professional sport as opposed to club GAA matches, which is an amateur organisation as we all know.
"I was just highlighting the fact that the FAI and the clubs have been doing their business right, and deserve credit for that."
Rogers warned that people need to understand that if rules aren't followed, we will go back to no sport at all.
"You look to lockdown when there was no sport - everyone was missing sport and no matter who you spoke they were missing some sort of sport or something in their life. Then when you get in back and there are rules and regulations put in place, I think the very least you can do is adhere to them.
"Be grateful for the fact that you're back going to games, and playing in games and doing what you enjoy. I don't think the guidelines are that difficult to follow.
"If we go [back] into a lockdown it's going to be a sad state of affairs for everybody."
Former Dublin footbaler Mick O'Keeffe said on the Sunday Paper Review yesterday that the GAA may need to look at implementing their own guidelines for patrons to follow.
"I think the GAA are going to have to provide GAA guidelines," O’Keefe said.
"There is confusion around the amount of people at matches, and I think for football in particular, we’ve got so many competitive counties in the north I think it is an issue for the [them].
"They do need to be clear with the guidelines for GAA people and the clubs and the teams that are training.
"There are mixed messages and I think there is an imbalance between the north and the south in terms of how people are treating this virus."