The Premier League may be forced to take a short break in the wake of the latest round of Covid-19 testing.
The league had a record 40 positive coronavirus tests on Tuesday, which is a significant increase on the previous record of 18 cases reported last week. 1,311 players and staff were tested between 28 and 31 December, with 28 returning positive for Covid-19. 984 players and staff underwent tests between 1 and 3 January, resulting in a further 12 positive tests.
The news comes in the wake of a number of players breaching Covid-19 regulations over the Christmas period. Players from Spurs, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Fulham were all pictured socialising on New Year’s Eve despite the restrictions in place across England at the moment.
Some recent fixtures were postponed as a result of the sharp increase in cases across the league. Fulham’s previous two games with Spurs and Burnley were called off due to a number of positive cases in the Cottagers’ camp. Manchester City’s tie with Everton was also cancelled in December and the City squad was left depleted for their away game against Chelsea on Sunday as a result of the coronavirus. Pep Guardiola was left without six of his senior players for the trip to London, a game which City eventually won 1-3.
Forty is by far the highest return of positive cases since the resumption of the Premier League last summer. However, the Premier League reiterated in a statement that they remain defiant in their determination to complete all remaining fixtures as scheduled.
“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the league continues to have confidence in its Covid-19 protocols, fully backed by the Government, to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled.”
The immediate future of the league looks in serious doubt however, with the situation in England continuing to worsen, resulting in tougher restrictions being placed on people across the country recently.