The Premier League has confirmed a season-high 40 positive coronavirus cases were recorded in the latest week of testing.
It is the first week of players and club staff being tested twice a week for Covid-19.
Twenty-eight positive results were returned out of 1,311 tests taken between December 28 and December 31, with a further 12 new positives recorded from 984 tests conducted between January 1 and January 3.
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Eighteen individuals tested positive in last week’s Premier League coronavirus results, which were recorded between December 21-27 and had been the highest total.
Everton vs Manchester City on December 28, Tottenham vs Fulham on December 30 and Burnley vs Fulham on January 3 were all forced to be postponed amid coronavirus outbreaks at City and Fulham.
Four matches have been called off because of coronavirus cases this season. Newcastle’s game away at Aston Villa on December 4 was postponed due to multiple Covid-19 positives among Steve Bruce’s squad and backroom staff.
The Premier League has not discussed the possibility of a circuit break for the season despite the growing number of postponed matches.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Premier League said: “With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the League continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols, fully backed by the Government, to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled.”
Coronavirus numbers are on the rise in the UK with over 50,000 new cases recorded for the seventh day in a row on Monday, prompting Boris Johnson to announce a national lockdown for England. Under the new restrictions, elite sport can continue behind closed doors.
Over the New Year, a number of Premier League players, including Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy, Tottenham trio Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon, and West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini. were reminded of their responsibilities concerning coronavirus protocols after breaching the rules over the festive period.
However, the FA will not charge any player for breaking coronavirus rules over the festive period, while the Premier League will leave it to the individual clubs to discipline those involved.
The national governing body for football in England insists protocols and compliance are determined by the respective rules of the leagues, so any breaches would fall under their jurisdiction.
The PFA are in dialogue with the Premier League with regards to player protocols, surrounding coronavirus.
Previous Premier League test results
- Round 1: 31 Aug-6 Sep – 1,605 tested, with three testing positive.
- Round 2: 7-13 Sep – 2,131 tested, with four testing positive.
- Round 3: 14-20 Sep – 1,574 tested, with three testing positive.
- Round 4: 21-27 Sep – 1,595 tested, with 10 testing positive.
- Round 5: 28 Sep-4 Oct – 1,587 tested, with nine testing positive.
- Round 6: 5-11 Oct – 1,128 tested, with five testing positive.
- Round 7: 12-18 Oct – 1,575 tested, with eight testing positive.
- Round 8: 19-25 Oct – 1,609 tested, with two testing positive.
- Round 9: 26 Oct-1 Nov – 1,446 tested, with four testing positive.
- Round 10: 2-8 Nov – 1,646 tested, with four testing positive.
- Round 11: 9-15 Nov – 1,207 tested, with 16 testing positive.
- Round 12: 16-22 Nov – 1,530 tested, with eight testing positive.
- Round 13: 23-29 Nov – 1,381 tested, with 10 testing positive.
- Round 14: 30 Nov-6 Dec – 1,483 tested with 14 testing positive.
- Round 15: 7-13 Dec – 1,549 tested with six testing positive.
- Round 16: 14-20 Dec – 1,569 tested with seven testing positive.
- Round 17: 21-27 Dec – 1,479 tested with 18 testing positive.
- Round 18: 28 Dec – 3 Jan – 2,295 tests with 40 testing positive.
What is the criteria for a postponement?
Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:
The Premier League Board ultimately decides whether matches can or cannot be postponed. While there aren’t hard and fast rules – each game is judged on a case-by-case basis – there are some guidelines.
For instance, in the 2020/21 Premier League handbook, clubs have been told “permission will not be granted to postpone a league match where the applicant club has 14 or more players listed on its squad list available.”
Teams were permitted earlier this season to name 25 players in their Premier League squad list – and that doesn’t include registered U21 players.
Man City, for example, according to the Premier League website, named 20 players in their Premier League squad list. They currently have six players sidelined with coronavirus. That takes their Premier League squad list down to 14.
However, City may not even have had to drop below that 14-player level for their match with Everton to be postponed. The Premier League Board have said they took medical advice into consideration when deciding to call off that fixture, and there may have been other factors affecting their decision.
However, what we do know is that the Premier League Board only rearrange games in “exceptional circumstances”.
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