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Premier League to continue as planned after COVID-19 meeting

Rebecca Lowe gives her take on the biggest current story in the Premier League, as a mass COVID-19 outbreak postponed six of 10 fixtures in Matchweek 18.

The Premier League action will continue over the festive period, as clubs met to discuss recent COVID-19 outbreaks and decided not to implement a ‘circuit breaker’ to the schedule.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Leaders from the PL’s 20 clubs held an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the postponements which hit the PL hard at the weekend and discussed if a short halt (a ‘circuit breaker’) to the action would be the best way to move forward.

A statement from the Premier League confirmed that no vote was held on a short break as the clubs decided to continue with the action and the current protocols in place, for now.

Six of the 10 games scheduled to take place in Matchweek 18 were postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks at several clubs.

The Premier League “Festive Fixtures” take place from Saturday, Dec. 18 until Monday, Jan. 3, and you can watch all the action across our platforms right here.

With the Omicron variant leading to record case numbers on a daily basis across the UK at the moment, emergency protocols have been brought back in to keep players and staff safe at PL clubs.

The UK government has also put extra restrictions in place around fans attending games, as supporters now have to show proof of being fully-vaccinated or testing negative for COVID-19 to enter PL stadiums.

Statement in full

“It was confirmed at a Premier League club meeting today that while recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and challenges, it is the League’s collective intention to continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible.

“The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority and the League will continue to monitor and reflect public health guidance, always proceeding with caution. A range of issues were discussed at this afternoon’s meeting, including the adaption of the Premier League COVID-19 postponement process in response to the impact of the Omicron variant.

“The League also confirmed to its clubs today that 92 per cent of players and club staff have received one, two or three COVID-19 vaccination doses, with 84 per cent of players on the vaccination journey. Players who have had one or two doses are required to wait for the appropriate time period before receiving either their second or booster vaccinations.

“The League continues to work with clubs to encourage vaccination among players and club staff, as well as promoting the Government’s public-health vaccination messaging to clubs and the wider public. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League, and player vaccination rates will now be publicly communicated at the end of each month, beginning in January.”

Background information

Via our partners in the UK at Sky Sports, here is more information as to how the PL decides which games are postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks and how clubs can put in requests:

“The 2021-22 Premier League handbook includes Covid protocols, and states the Premier League board will ‘only permit the rearrangement or postponement of a league match in exceptional circumstances.’ The board makes calls on a case-by-case basis, and by way of guidance, the Premier League says permission for a postponement will not be granted if a club has 14 or more players from their squad list available.

“In a statement, the Premier League added it would ‘assess a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the Covid-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match. The Board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club may come into contact with.’”

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