EPL Clubs Vote To Continue Matches Amid Fast Rising Covid-19 Cases In Football
The Premier League’s 20 clubs met on Monday to discuss the fixture list after six weekend games were postponed.
The postponement of a round of games over Christmas was a possibility.
No vote took place and so two rounds of fixtures are in place across five days from 26 December, while the EFL will play games “where it is safe to do so”.
It had been expected that the Premier League’s gameweek 20, starting on 28 December, would be postponed in order to ease the pressure on Premier League squads.
Instead, clubs have been advised if they have 13 fit players, plus a goalkeeper, they should fulfil their games.
“The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority and the league will continue to monitor and reflect public health guidance, always proceeding with caution,” the Premier League said.
FA Cup replays in rounds three and four have however been scrapped and talks are ongoing on whether to reduce EFL Cup semi-final ties to one-leg matches.
On Monday, Premier League figures showed 77% players have had two vaccination jabs, a rise from 68% in October.
Some players and staff have received three vaccinations but 92% have had at least one.
The Premier League said Monday’s meeting saw “a range of issues discussed” including adapting the Covid-19 postponement process. Saturday’s fixture between Aston Villa and Burnley was called off at two hours’ notice.
Last week, Premier League players returned 42 positive Covid-19 tests in a seven-day period, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. Updated figures for the most recent seven-day period are expected later on Monday.
In Sunday’s Premier League fixtures, Chelsea named just six substitutes for their draw at Wolves and Liverpool drew at Tottenham without a number of first-team names.
Five of Saturday’s six fixtures were called off. Chelsea tried to get Sunday’s fixture at Wolves postponed and boss Thomas Tuchel said his players were put at “huge risk… not just because of Covid but also physically”.
It is understood Liverpool were among a group of clubs who pushed for the postponement of gameweek 20.
After Sunday’s draw at Spurs, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said playing on 26 and 28 December was not feasible.
“It’s impossible, we don’t have the players,” Klopp said. “We have to think we will get an extra case or two. We cannot just push it all through. The 26th and 28th, that’s not possible. We would prefer to play but we need help with the fixtures.”
The seven Premier League teams still in the Carabao Cup face ties on 21 and 22 December and will play three Premier League fixtures between then and 2 January.