Covid outbreak strikes English Premier Leaguetext_fields
90 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported from 20 teams assembled to participate in the English Premier League as managers and staff alike voiced fears over the player safety and playoff viability due to multiple match cancellations amidst the raging coronavirus pandemic.
"The League can today confirm that between Monday 13 December and Sunday 19 December, a record 12,345 COVID-19 tests were administered on players and club staff. Of these, there were 90 new positive cases," read a statement released on Monday evening. The League has reverted to its emergency measures since then and has increased testing of players and club staff to daily Lateral Flow and twice-weekly PCR tests, having previously carried out Lateral Flow testing twice a week, Xinhua reports.
Just four matches were held last weekend out of ten scheduled due to minor outbreaks of Covid-19, prompting a meeting of Premier League Chiefs on Monday, to discuss the impact on fairness of the sport and player safety. No vote was passed and so the clubs have decided to go ahead with festive fixtures on schedule.
Postponement of games has been considered on a case to case basis so far but critics say there is no clarity to why some games are given the go ahead and others are not.
Two rounds of fixtures are in place across five days from 26 December, while the EFL clubs, who were included in the meeting, will play games "where it is safe to do so". It had been expected that the Premier League's gameweek 20, starting on 28 December, would be postponed in order to ease the pressure on Premier League squads.
Chelsea have fallen six points behind Manchester City at the top of the table after draws with Everton and Wolves over the past week while dealing with a worsening outbreak.