Thursday, January 20, 2022

Premier League set to plough through festive schedule despite Covid surge

Clubs will be expected to play games so long as they have 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper, the BBC says.

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Premier League clubs have agreed to continue playing games scheduled over the festive period despite a surge in Covid-19 cases postponing several fixtures, the BBC reported on Monday.

Ten Premier League games have been postponed this month due to outbreaks amid a busy schedule where teams are set to play three times between Boxing Day and Jan 3.

Only four of the 10 weekend’s fixtures were played after teams told the Premier League they were unable to name a full strength side.

Clubs will be expected to play games so long as they have 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper, the BBC said.

The Premier League did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

British media reported FA Cup replays in rounds three and four have been scrapped to help clear the fixture backlog.

However, the English Football League (EFL), which also organises the League Cup, said its fixtures will be played as scheduled.

League Cup semi-finals are played over two legs in January. The competition’s quarter-final matches – which has seven Premier League teams in action – are set to be played this week.

“While the League acknowledges there will likely be future postponements to navigate where Covid-19 cases are identified, there is optimism that disruption can be minimised following implementation of RED protocols, a daily testing regime and ongoing vaccination rollout,” the EFL said.

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch said: “We will continue to work with clubs, authorities and other agencies to monitor the Covid-19 case rate and be prepared to respond accordingly.

“For now the view remains that we can continue to deliver games safely where clubs have sufficient healthy personnel in place, on and off the pitch.”

The EFL had 19 games across its divisions postponed last weekend due to Covid-19 outbreaks.

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