The Premier League have confirmed they intend to continue with their current fixture schedule where it is safe to do so – though Manchester United’s match with Brighton on Saturday is the latest in a wave of matches to be postponed due to COVID-19.
Several fixtures have been postponed in the last week due to outbreaks within clubs, with Tottenham’s trip to Leicester called off on Thursday before United and the Seagulls confirmed the postponement of their match at Old Trafford.
The Premier League however released a statement saying they do not intend to pause the season in the wake of the news.
It read: “While recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is the League’s intention to continue its current fixture schedule where safely possible. The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority.
“Regarding Manchester United’s game on Saturday, the club continues to have an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak within their squad, which has left them unable to field a team for the match at Old Trafford.
“A significant number of COVID-19 cases led to their game against Brentford FC being called off earlier this week, and today additional positive tests have been confirmed.
“The Board assesses applications to postpone matches on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and COVID-19 postponement guidance issued to all clubs.
“It will 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.
“In light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, the Premier League has reintroduced Emergency Measures. These include protocols such as more frequent testing, wearing face coverings while indoors, observing social distancing and limiting treatment time.”
A number of top flight clubs are calling for the Premier League to shutdown until January due to alarming spike in Covid-19 cases, with at least four not anticipating much football to be played in the coming weeks.
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank spoke in favour of a circuit-breaker shutdown to give clubs the next week to stay home and safe earlier on Thursday.