Southampton’s FA Cup third-round tie with Shrewsbury Town will not go ahead as scheduled on Saturday after the League One side received “a number” of positive COVID-19 test results this week.
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A meeting of The FA’s Professional Game Board is scheduled for next week, at which point a decision will be made regarding potentially rescheduling the fixture.
This weekend’s FA Cup action, wherein the third round Premier League clubs enter the competition and are set to face 14 sides from the EFL Championship or below, presents an additional challenge as few clubs in the lower levels of English football have access to the same twice-weekly testing regimes as their top-flight counterparts. In theory, players a club like Southampton — or Tottenham, or Chelsea, or Manchester City, or West Ham United, to name a few — could contract the virus after coming into contact with unknowingly infected players from a lower-division side.
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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.