Premier League clubs have seen a record rise in positive Covid cases this week but some teams have had games postponed while others – including Chelsea and Crystal Palace – have had requests denied
Premier League chiefs have announced a record number of new Covid cases.
They recorded a staggering 103 new positives from Monday, December 20, to Sunday, December 26, which contributed to three top flight fixtures being postponed on Boxing Day.
It is a rise on last week’s weekly figure of 90 new cases which was a new record with Premier League chiefs now using a new Covid “tracker” to keep up to date with potential outbreaks at clubs.
It is designed to help stay on top of positive cases and make early decisions on postponements amid the fixture chaos because of the pandemic.
Premier League chiefs release the numbers each week on how many staff and players have tested positive but do not reveal which club has been affected even though they are keeping closer tabs than ever.
Clubs must provide full medical details to the Premier League on how many players and staff have tested positive or are self isolating, their vaccination status, detailed information on injuries and whether under-21 players are available.
Every case goes to the Premier League board for a decision and Chelsea and Crystal Palace are two recent examples of clubs who have had postponement requests turned down.
The Premier League board has set out in writing to clubs the SIX key factors which are taken into consideration.
- The impact of COVID-19 infections on a club’s squad, as well as injuries, illness and those isolating, and the number of players available on the squad list and any Under-21 players with appropriate experience. Where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players, the match will be postponed.
- The status of any COVID-19 outbreak within a club, including the number of individuals affected, the sequence and source of infections and their proximity to the match in question.
- A club’s ability to safely prepare its players in the lead-up to a match.
- Medical advice as to whether there is any unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match.
- Any advice from UK Health Security Agency and other public bodies.
- Any other exceptional circumstances.
Prem bosses have been able to postpone matches nearly 48 hours in advance of kick-off with Wolves ’ trip to Arsenal due to be played on Tuesday being called off on Boxing Day with similar notice of Liverpool ’s clash with Leeds.
There is a clear determination to avoid last minute postponements such as Watford ’s game at Burnley or Aston Villa against Burnley.
But they are also taking a clear stand after denying Palace’s request to call off their trip to Tottenham on Boxing Day that a club must present all their documents and have everything in order.
There was frustration in that case because rumours circulated on social media after website reports but the Premier League deemed the game could go ahead as Palace ultimately made just one change in their line-up.