Will the PL Take Action as Covid Outbreaks lead to More Postponements?

A new decision is to be taken as Covid cases increase in the Premier League.

 The Premier League has postponed up to 15 matches because of the rising of Covid cases across the UK in the past few weeks, with players and managers having to isolate themselves if they tested positive or if they are unvaccinated and were in close contact with a COVID-19 case. Leeds and Wolves were the latest targets and have secured Premier League approval for further games to be postponed due to coronavirus outbreaks and injuries in their squads.

Image Credits: news.cgtn.com

Both teams missed Boxing Day action as Wolves were prevented from hosting Watford due to a lack of players from Watford’s squad. Leeds United won’t be playing against Aston Villa on Tuesday after their Liverpool game was postponed too. The Premier League clubs decided by rejecting the idea of temporarily halting the season, and the clubs were warned games would take place if each team had 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper.

Crystal Palace got their request rejected for Sunday’s game against Spurs, but the Premier League Board considered that Palace has enough players for the game to take place. As a result, Palace got hammered with a 3-0 defeat at Wembley. Patrick Vieira missed the game as he was self-isolating for a week after contracting COVID-19.

Along with Palace, Aston Villa was also missing their manager Steven Gerrard for the same reason. Aston Villa lost to Chelsea, who have suffered the most in the recent weeks. Last week, Thomas Tuchel’s request to postpone the game against Wolves got rejected. As a result, Chelsea dropped points for the  

 Second time in a row, and they are losing their ground in the title race.

Image Credits: theguardian.com

Antonio Conte and Dean Smith also expressed their frustration towards the poor management of the Premier League and its upcoming busy schedule. Last week’s virtual meeting between the Premier League and all 20 top-flight managers was a waste of time, according to Antonio Conte.

“If I have to be honest, it was a meeting that we tried to speak, and some coaches tried to speak, to ask about solutions, but I think everything was decided,” Conte said.

The frustrations are understandable considering the circumstances, as the club just returned from a two-week break due to a Covid outbreak at the club. Dean Smith said it was “lunacy” to expect teams to play games within 2 days period. “It is lunacy that we are having to play two games in 48 hours, and there has got to be a question about the integrity of the competition when teams are playing weakened teams against other teams, and it is affecting league positions.”

Not only the Premier League but also the divisions below in English Football League (EFL) postponed up to 22 games scheduled on Boxing Day. Unlike other leagues, the Premier League has the least percentage of fully vaccinated players. Double vaccination of players and staff members needs to be taken care of; otherwise, we may witness the most important part of the season being played behind closed doors. The title race is shaping up as Chelsea have fallen behind. Liverpool and Man City are on their way to recreate history with yet another exhilarating title race this season.

Image Credits: spurs-web.com

Liverpool looked very vulnerable the last time when they played behind closed doors and won’t be pleased to go through a similar situation. It will be even tougher for relegation battling teams to go out play with any support when they will need it the most. Stadiums are still allowed to be filled with full capacity despite such circumstances, but spectators are required to submit a negative report from 48 hours when entering the stadium.

Other leagues have decreased the capacity by a huge margin, and as a result, all match days are played on the same weekend without any postponement. The Premier League and the clubs will need to reconsider their decision to the continuation of matches if the situation worsens. Clubs and their supporters won’t be pleased if they have to face a similar situation they faced in 2020. 103 positive cases have been recorded in the Premier League, which is a frightening sign for everyone. What measures will the Premier League take need to be seen?

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