Premier League confident season will continue despite increase in COVID-19 cases

The Premier League said it has “full confidence” that the 2020-21 season will continue as planned, despite an escalation in positive COVID-19 cases that has led to a second fixture postponement in three days following the decision to call off Tottenham’s clash with Fulham on Wednesday.

An outbreak of COVID-19 at Fulham saw the game postponed just three hours before kick-off. Everton’s Goodison Park clash with Manchester City on Monday was also called off four hours before kick-off as a result of an unspecified number of positive cases at City. City, however, have since announced a return to training, suggesting their match with Chelsea scheduled for Sunday will go on as planned.

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The Premier League on Monday reported 18 positive tests of players and club staff between Dec. 21 and Dec. 27 — a record high since testing began in the summer.

But with infections rising within the UK and more stringent social restrictions imposed by the government in an effort to control the pandemic, the Premier League has insisted that its safety protocols are comprehensive enough to ensure games can continue.

A Premier League statement said: “With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the Premier League continues to have full confidence in its COVID-19 protocols and being able to continue to play our fixtures as scheduled.”

A statement later on Wednesday said the league has not discussed any postponements, and has no plans to do so at this time, adding: “These protocols continue to have the full backing of Government.

“With the health of players and staff the priority, the League is also fully supportive of how clubs are implementing the protocols and rules.”

The Premier League confirmed, meanwhile, that the Spurs-Fulham clash was postponed at Fulham’s request.

The league said: “Fulham lodged a request with the Premier League Board to rearrange the fixture following a significant rise in positive COVID-19 cases, as well as a number of players showing symptoms today.

“The Premier League Board has consulted its medical advisors and the decision to postpone the game has been taken as a precaution and with the health of players and staff as the priority. The group will now be retested immediately.”


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