Highlights on Off The Ball

05:00 PM-12:00 AM

Highlights on Off The Ball

Premier League postpones four further matches amid COVID-19 outbreaks

The Premier League has released a statement this evening announcing that a further four matches h...

Premier League postpones four...

Premier League postpones four further matches amid COVID-19 outbreaks

The Premier League has released a statement this evening announcing that a further four matches have been postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks among clubs. 

In its statement, the Premier outlined that they 'regret to inform' that Southampton v Brentford, Watford v Crystal Palace, West Ham United v Norwich City and Everton v Leicester City are now all off this Saturday.

Tonight's updated announcement comes in addition to an earlier statement made by the Premier League that Manchester United and Brighton's game will not go ahead on Saturday as United continue to deal with a coronavirus outbreak at the club.

This evening it appears that now Brentford, Norwich, Watford and Leicester have all failed to keep covid cases among players and staff to a minimum.

Earlier this week the Premier League announced that a record 42 players have contracted the virus – with that number likely to increase given the emerging pattern.

The postponement of games brings more logistical headaches for all clubs over the festive period. In such a tight and small window of opportunities to reschedule matches, many clubs might struggle to do so.

Tottenham Hotspur had to hand over the points to Rennes in the Uefa Conference League match last week, as Spurs were unable to field a full team for the fixture.

The COVID outbreak among clubs comes as the UK government announced new COVID measures and restrictions to tackle the Omicron variant. Westminister announced a record 88,000 COVID-19 cases this evening.

Shortly after the statement, Liverpool released a statement that Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Virgil Van Djik will all miss their match with Newcastle this evening after contracting the virus.

Read the full Premier League statement here:

It is with regret that the Premier League Board has postponed a further four matches due to be played this weekend.

The affected fixtures are:

Southampton v Brentford, Saturday, 18 December 15:00 GMT
Watford v Crystal Palace, Saturday, 18 December 15:00 GMT
West Ham United v Norwich City, Saturday, 18 December 15:00 GMT
Everton v Leicester City, Sunday, 19 December 12:00 GMT

Earlier today we announced that Manchester United’s fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday has also been called off.

The League understands fans will be disappointed these matches have had to be postponed and apologises for the inconvenience and disruption caused. All other fixtures due to be played this weekend are currently scheduled to proceed as planned.

The Board has agreed to postpone the matches after assessing individual club requests this evening.

Brentford FC have an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This has resulted in their training ground being closed which means they are unable to prepare for Saturday’s match.

Watford FC also continue to have an ongoing outbreak, resulting in their training ground being closed, and have an insufficient number of players available to fulfil their match.

Norwich City FC have an insufficient number of players available to fulfil their match due to COVID-19, injuries and other illnesses.

Leicester City FC have a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad which has left the club with an insufficient number of players available to fulfil the match. The club’s first-team training ground was closed this morning to help contain the outbreak.

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 representatives may come into contact with.

With the health and wellbeing of all players and staff the priority, and 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.

Football on Off The Ball, brought to you by Sky.

All the football you love in one place across Sky Sports, BT Sport & Premier Sports.

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.