COVID-19 in the Premier League: Two matches has been postponed amid fear of COVID-19 resurgence
The Premier League has postponed two more matches scheduled for Tuesday (Dec. 28), bringing the total number of games postponed due to COVID-19 to 15 over the course of the season. The postponements come as the Premier League’s decision-making process for deciding which fixtures can be removed from the schedule comes under increasing scrutiny.
In addition to the postponement of Leeds vs. Aston Villa, club sources have told CBS Sports that the Premier League will announce the postponement of Arsenal vs. Wolves in the near future due to COVID-19 cases in the latter’s squad shortly.
Leeds were forced to postpone their game for the second time in two days. They were forced to postpone their Boxing Day match against Liverpool due to a combination of five coronavirus cases, illness, and injuries that left them with fewer than the 13 outfield players and goalkeeper that they needed to compete. Crystal Palace’s request to postpone Sunday’s match against Tottenham had been denied just hours before. The Eagles were hit with COVID-19 cases that included head coach Patrick Vieira, but they were still required to travel to north London, where they were defeated 3-0 by Spurs.
A meeting with clubs last week revealed that the Premier League does not have a set number of COVID positive cases that must be met before a game must be postponed. Instead, six key factors are taken into account when deciding whether to postpone games, including the availability of senior players and experienced youngsters, whether players are able to train safely, the sequencing of any outbreak within the club, and medical advice.
A game has been postponed in the past when the status of a club’s COVID-19 outbreak was not known before kickoff, according to the Premier League board of directors.
According to a statement from the league: “Because Leeds United had requested it, the Premier League board met today and decided to postpone the club’s home match against Aston Villa, which was scheduled to take place at 17:30 GMT on Tuesday 28 December.
“The board was able to reach a decision ahead of time in order to provide clarity to the affected clubs and their fans prior to the match. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and disruption this has caused to our supporters’ holiday plans.
“The postponement is due to the ongoing COVID-19 cases and injuries at Leeds, which resulted in the cancellation of their Boxing Day match against Liverpool. After considering the application, the Board decided to postpone the game because the club did not have the required number of players available for the game (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper).”
Leeds also stated that, despite the fact that there had been no additional cases beyond the five that led to the postponement of the Liverpool game, the vast majority of those players had continued to isolate themselves.