The Premier League has released a statement saying it has ‘full confidence’ in its COVID-19 protocols despite ‘low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs.’
Reports stated that the PL is not planning to discuss a circuit breaker idea which is reportedly being discussed among some leaders of PL clubs, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in England due to the new variant of the coronavirus.
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This idea was mooted after the Premier League confirmed the highest number of positive test results had come back from the latest tests on players and staff.
However, following the postponement of Tottenham – Fulham on Dec. 30 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Fulham, the Premier League released a statement confirming they plan to carry on games as normal.
“Fulham lodged a request with the Premier League Board to rearrange the fixture following a significant rise in positive COVID-19 cases, as well as a number of players showing symptoms today,” the Premier League said.
“The Premier League Board has consulted its medical advisors and the decision to postpone the game has been taken as a precaution and with the health of players and staff as the priority. The group will now be retested immediately.
“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the Premier League continues to have full confidence in its COVID-19 protocols and being able to continue to play our fixtures as scheduled.
“The League wishes those with COVID-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in due course.”
Multiple outbreaks at multiple clubs has caused concerns and according to The Telegraph, multiple Premier League owners have privately discussed a two-week break in January after the FA Cup third round to try and stop the spread of COVID-19 cases.
Per the report, the FA Cup games are of particular concern as the lower leagues of English soccer have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 as testing is less frequent at that level.
However, our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have the latest on the situation and they understand no talks are planned on a two-week break:
“The Premier League is not discussing the possibility of a circuit break to halt the season amid a rise of coronavirus cases in the game. No club has brought the proposal to the league, despite West Brom boss Sam Allardyce calling for a pause to the campaign to try to reduce the number of cases.
“The government has no talks planned on pausing elite sport. Premier League clubs are not scheduled to meet again until January, with a decision such as to halt the season required to be agreed by at least 14 clubs.”
The latest Premier League COVID-19 test results were released on December 29 and there were 18 positives results from 1,479 players and staff tested between December 21-27.
That figure is the highest number of positive results for testing this season, but the rate of 1.22 percent of positive results is slightly lower than the 16 cases found in the 9-15 November testing window, which came out at 1.33 percent in positive results.
These figures will be concerning as two games have been postponed in December due COVID-19 outbreaks at Premier League clubs Newcastle United and most recently Manchester City, while Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is self-isolating after a positive test in his household and Sheffield United have revealed a significant outbreak in their squad.
Manchester City’s trip to Everton was postponed on December 28, and City have closed their training ground to players and staff to try and stop the outbreak. On Christmas Day it was announced that Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker tested positive, along with two staff members, while City have had further positive results since.
There is no doubt the Premier League will discuss the situation further in the coming days and weeks, with their next club meeting lined up for late January, as managers and players have revealed different thoughts behind the two week break.
Sam Allardyce wants it to happen, while Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn’t sure it will have an impact.