According to a big ‘exclusive’ from The Telegraph, top flight clubs have held preliminary talks about a two-week January shutdown due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
The discussions came after Man City were forced to postpone their fixtures with Everton following a recent outbreak of coronavirus at the club.
We had our own outbreak last month which forced our fixture with Aston Villa to be scrapped, while Southampton manager Ralph Hassenhutl managed his team against West Ham from home after coming into contact with somebody that has the virus.
Tonight’s clash between Tottenham and Fulham is also ‘in doubt’ after an outbreak in the Cottager’s camp, with this coming just a few days after Fulham boss Scott Parker was forced to miss their home draw with Southampton.
Several high profile players and managers throughout the season have missed fixtures after contracting COVID, but this is the first time there has ever been a serious risk of knocking the season on the head temporarily.
The EFL, where testing is not as prevalent as the Premier League, have been hit harder with postponed fixtures as cases continue to soar throughout the country.
Some sceptical fans have hinted at foul play should the Premier League have a break in the season. A two-break hiatus in January would serve as the ideal ‘winter break’ for top flight bosses like Jurgen Koop, who have been prominent critics of the fixture pile up and substitution rules this season. That said, when the rise in cases is so damning up and down the country, it may be a wise decision to stop for at least two weeks.
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he can’t see the point in having a two week circuit break after his side beat Wolves last night. An already congested fixture list would be placed in an even bigger pile up further down the line – something the Red Devil’s boss does not agree with.
Here is the rate of top flight clubs positive cases since protocols were introduced for the start of the campaign:
- Round 1: Aug 31-Sep 6 – 1,605 tested, with three testing positive.
- Round 2: Sep 7-13 – 2,131 tested, with four testing positive.
- Round 3: Sep 14-20- 1,574 tested, with three testing positive.
- Round 4: Sep 21-27 – 1,595 tested, with 10 testing positive.
- Round 5: Sep 28-Oct 4 – 1,587 tested, with nine testing positive.
- Round 6: Oct 5-11 – 1,128 tested, with five testing positive.
- Round 7: Oct 12-18 – 1,575 tested, with eight testing positive.
- Round 8: Oct 19-25 – 1,609 tested, with two testing positive.
- Round 9: Oct 26-Nov 1 – 1,446 tested, with four testing positive.
- Round 10: Nov 2-8 – 1,646 tested, with four testing positive.
- Round 11: Nov 9-15 – 1,207 tested, with 16 testing positive.
- Round 12: Nov 16-22 – 1,530 tested, with eight testing positive.
- Round 13: Nov 23-29 – 1,381 tested, with 10 testing positive.
- Round 14: Nov 30-Dec 6 – 1,483 tested, with 14 testing positive.
- Round 15: Dec 7-13 – 1,549 tested, with six testing positive.
- Round 16: Dec 14-20 – 1,569 tested, with seven testing positive
- Round 17: Dec 21-27 – 1,479 tested, with 18 testing positive