Premier League confirms change to Covid postponement rule

The Independent
The Independent

Premier League clubs must now have a minimum of four positive Covid-19 cases within their squad in order to apply for a fixture postponement, it has been confirmed.

It comes after Premier League clubs met on Wednesday to discuss changes to the guidance following widespread confusion and anger surrounding the criteria to call off matches.

The rule sees a shift from the previously guidance which allowed clubs to apply for a fixture postponement if they did not have 13 available outfield players and a goalkeeper.

Tottenham Hotspur led criticism of the rule after the Premier League accepted Arsenal’s request to call off the north London derby earlier this month due to Mikel Arteta’s side also being impacted by injuries and players missing due to their involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations.

A statement from the Premier League confirmed: “Following a club meeting today, the Premier League’s Covid-19 match postponement guidance has been updated to include a Covid-19 impact threshold.

“From now on, if a club applies to postpone a match on the grounds of insufficient players due to Covid-19, they must have a minimum of four positive cases within their squad.

“This guidance will come into effect ahead of the next Premier League fixture on Saturday 5 February (Burnley v Watford).”

The Premier League introduced its guidance in December as Covid cases rose sharply amongst top-flight squads amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

There have so far been 22 fixture postponements with many clubs facing a backlog of games but positive cases amongst squads have fallen for four weeks in a row.

The Premier League added: “The league’s postponement rules and guidance are designed to protect the wellbeing of players and staff, while maintaining the sporting integrity of the competition and the quality of squads playing matches.

“Club applications will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The Premier League board examines a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of Covid-19; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match.”

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