Coronavirus postponements getting out of hand

There have been a total of 20 covid-19 related postponements in the Premier League (at the time of writing) since December 12th and I believe it is getting out of hand.

Plenty of pundits have had their say on the situation of late and maybe the change in isolation rules in England from today will improve the state of play. If it doesn’t, I think the Premier League need to think long and hard about their stance.

As it stands the Premier League state “where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced U21 players, the match will be postponed”.

Premier League guidance in full

“The Board will consider the following principal factors when making a decision:

1) The impact of COVID-19 infections on a club’s squad, as well as injuries, illness and those isolating, and the number of players available on the squad list and any Under-21 players with appropriate experience. Where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players, the match will be postponed.

2) The status of any COVID-19 outbreak within a club, including the number of individuals affected, the sequence and source of infections and their proximity to the match in question.

3) A club’s ability to safely prepare its players in the lead-up to a match.

4) Medical advice as to whether there is any unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match.

5) Any advice from UK Health Security Agency and other public bodies.

6) Any other exceptional circumstances.”

The Premier League has in some cases turned down requests. Chelsea’s well-publicised request being turned down a few weeks ago springs to mind but the majority seem to be getting away with it.

Now I know we are living in very different times but some clubs are requesting postponements because of injuries and players on International duty. No club is actually doing anything wrong and they are looking out for themselves. I won’t criticise any club for doing this but at some point, the Premier League need to change their stance otherwise the season won’t end until well into the summer.

Learn from the Bundesliga

The Bundesliga has advised their sides to take full advantage of their u23 and u18 squads to the extent where Bayern Munich recently named six players from their under-23’s and two players from their under-18’s in a recent game against Borussia Monchengladbach.

The Premier League is one of the richest leagues in the world and their sides have some of the biggest and best academies available to them so is it time we took the same stance as the Bundesliga?

Many managers complained about the fixture pileup over the Festive period but that is going to be nothing compared to what some teams could face in the second half of the season. Leicester (5), Burnley (4) and Everton (4) could be the worst hit with two of those sides looking over their shoulders at a potential relegation battle.

As pundits like Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have stated, if there is a genuine covid outbreak within a squad where several players have tested positive, then a decision should rightly be made to postpone the game. But to call games off for injuries and AFCON involvement is poor and in my view is just clubs using the Premier League rules to their own benefit.

Original Source: A Villa Fan

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