Aston Villa training ground closed after ‘significant COVID outbreak’

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The FA Cup third-round tie between Aston Villa and Liverpool is in doubt after Villa announced the closure of its Bodymoor Heath training ground on Thursday, due to “a significant COVID-19 outbreak” at the club.

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Thursday’s training session was canceled ahead of Friday’s schedule clash with the Premier League leaders. It is unclear at this time whether or not Aston Villa would have enough players and staff members available, through test results and contact tracing, to fulfill the fixture.

A large number of first team players and staff returned positive tests after being routinely tested on Monday and immediately went into isolation.

A second round of testing was carried out immediately and produced more positive results [on Thursday].

Regarding Friday’s fixture, the club’s statement also said “discussions are ongoing between medical representatives of the club, the Football Association and the Premier League.”

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Southampton’s third-round tie with League One side Shrewsbury Town, previously scheduled for Saturday, has already been postponed.

The Premier League announced on Tuesday its own season-high number of COVID-19 cases from last week’s rounds of testing.

In the first week of Premier League players and staff being tested twice a week during the 2020-21 season (previously they were tested once per week), there were 28 positive results out of 1,311 tests between December 28-31, while 12 new positives results came from 984 tests taken from January 1-3.