Yet more Premier League and EFL fixtures have been postponed this week due to a rise in Covid cases at team camp and FA Cup commitments.
Aston Villa’s Premier League fixture against Everton was originally scheduled for this upcoming Sunday, but has now been called off due to an ongoing outbreak at the West Midlands club.
Villa were forced to close their training ground based at Bodymoor Heath last week after a “large number” of the squad’s first-team players and staff tested positive.
That meant there was no first team training and instead their youngsters had to play in the FA Cup Third Round game against Liverpool on the 8th of January, Louie Barry scoring to cancel out the opener before Liverpool then won 4-1.
10 first-team members were forced to self-isolate, meaning that they are unable to play their Premier League fixtures.
Dean Smith’s side didn’t play against Spurs on Wednesday as that is also called off, so instead Jose Mourinho’s side faced Fulham at home in a rescheduled match instead.
Though even that caught plenty of controversy as Cottagers boss Scott Parker fumed at how much time they had to prepared, this in turn got Jose Mourinho demanding an apology.
Newcastle United’s postponed fixture at Aston Villa, which was initially set to be played on the 4th of December 2020, has also been re-arranged and will now be played on Saturday the 23rd of January at 8pm, which live coverage on Sky Sports.
Villa were also due to play Manchester City (on the 20th of January), Burnley (on the 27th of January) and Southampton (on the 30th of January) before the end of the month.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed that Leeds United’s Premier League fixture with Southampton, originally scheduled for Wednesday the 20th of January, was called off to accommodate FA Cup commitments.
A new date for the game is set to be announced by the club in due course.
It’s not just the Premier League that have had games postponed with the EFL also suffering the same fate…
In League One, Oxofrd United’s away trip to Northampton Town has been postponed after a pitch inspection.
Heavy rain overnight meant a waterlogged pitch. No date has been arranged as yet for the game to be played
⛔️GAME OFF: Today’s game has been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. pic.twitter.com/gupGvy9fOm
— Northampton Town (@ntfc) January 16, 2021
In League Two, Bradford City’s fixture at home to Crawley Town scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed along with Exeter City’s visit to Harrogate Town also on Saturday due to a frozen pitch and deteriorating weather conditions at the EnviroVent Stadium.
Referee Bobby Madley visited Bradford on Friday and concluded he was pleased with the Valley Parade playing surface, and that it was safe for playing on.
However snow and ice surrounding the ground is dangerous and therefore been deemed unsafe as a wider facility.
Areas around Valley Parade and Burlington Street outside the stadium are the most dangerous – and with more snow expected – the EFL has decided to postpone the fixture.
Looking at the surface, Madley said: “The efforts of the ground staff have been superb and, from a playing perspective, there is no issue whatsoever.
“All the snow has been cleared from the surface, and the pitch is still a decent one.
“There is obviously a much bigger picture than the playing perspective though, and the roads around the ground certainly do not look or feel safe.
“The EFL have to take into account the fact the away side have a long distance to travel, and are likely to be bringing their team coach down Valley Parade.
“The ground staff here have put me in a position to say that the pitch is fine, so massive credit goes to them, but there are much bigger decisions to be made in terms of safety outside the ground.”
Ryan Sparks, the club’s chief executive officer, added: “We have worked tirelessly to ensure the pitch is playable, and that remains the case.
“The playing surface is not frozen and is in good condition, however surrounding areas of the stadium are extremely unsafe and this has caused concerns.
“Given where we are in society, we do not wish to put people’s welfare at risk and potentially add further strain to the country’s already-stretched emergency services.
“We are naturally disappointed to have lost the fixture. It will be close to a month by the time we next take to the field.
“However, given the conditions around the Utilita Energy Stadium – and an adverse forecast which could bring even more snow overnight – we are sadly unable to play the game.”
The latest Championship affected is Wycombe Wanderers, whose next upcoming fixture against Queens Park Rangers, due to take place tomorrow, has been suspended.
The Club informed the EFL that they have no choice be to not play out the game following recent positive Covid tests leading to players and staff to self-isolate according the EFL and Government guidance in order to prevent the spread of infection.
The circumstances surrounding the postponements will now be the subject of an investigation in accordance with EFL Regulations.
Dates for the rearranged fixture is set to be confirmed in due course.
Brentford can’t play their next two fixtures in the Championship with games against Bristol City and Reading suspended after positive Covid tests.
The Bees suffered yet more positive tests in Monday’s round of testing and had no choices but to call off Wednesday’s home game with Bristol City along with their upcoming trip to Reading on Saturday.
Players and staff have been told to self-isolate following guidance from the EFL and Government and their training ground has been shut down just like other clubs have experience.
A statement from Brentford read: “After a round of Covid-19 testing yesterday, Monday 11 January, Brentford FC reported positive tests to the EFL. The guidance from the EFL Medical Advisor was that we should close our Training Ground and carry out further rounds of testing.
“We informed the EFL that we would be unable to fulfil the fixtures following the tests, the closure of the Training Ground and the requirement for players and staff to self-isolate as per EFL and Government guidance in order to mitigate against the risk of further infection.
“Brentford FC confirmed that Head Coach Thomas Frank returned a positive Covid-19 test last week. Due to medical confidentiality, we will make no further comment on the positive tests.
“The circumstances surrounding the postponements will now be the subject of an investigation in accordance with EFL Regulations. Revised dates for the rearranged fixtures will be confirmed in due course.”
Sheffield Wednesday have also had to postponed two of their upcoming fixtures also because of positive tests within the camp.
They were set to play Coventry City on Saturday the 16th of January, as well as their game against Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday the 19th of January.
A club statement read: Sheffield Wednesday’s next two Sky Bet Championship fixtures against Coventry City (Saturday 16 January) and Wycombe Wanderers (Tuesday 19 January) have been suspended.
The club informed the EFL that we would be unable to fulfil the fixtures following recent positive COVID-19 tests and the requirement for players and staff to self-isolate as per EFL and Government guidance in order to mitigate against the risk of further infection.
Revised dates for the rearranged fixtures will be confirmed in due course.
On Thursday afternoon, it was confirmed that Carlisle United’s next three League Two games against Mansfield Town (Saturday the 16th of January), Leyton Orient (Tuesday the 19th of January) and Forest Green Rovers (Saturday the 23rd of January) have been suspended.
The club informed the English Football League that they would be unable to fulfil the fixtures following recent positive Covid tests and the requirement for players and staff to self-isolate as per EFL and Government guidance in order to mitigate against the risk of further infection.
There was plenty of reaction as yet more Premier League and EFL fixtures postponed…
@TRLB_AVFC: We’re gonna be in the bottom 3 with 20 games in hand at this point
@EfcBen7: Your season is actually going to end in July lool
@19TommyAVFC82: Don’t care if we’re gonna be 15th with 5games in hand no one can stop this title charge
@LukeKing_: Right decision hope the lads are ok
@vill1874: 2 sensible decisions. Top marks for the premier league decision makers
@edlavis88: We’ll have 15 games In hand by March
@AVFCOlly_: Game in hand fc we’re truly massive
@Mitchhhh28: Makes sense, hope all are well and will be back on the European charge soon #utv
@GW_94: We play when we want
@Brookesy1986: Not only is this the right decision from a health & safety and football point of view. It is also the right decision because it will upset so many fans of clubs that the decision has absolutely nothing to do with. Fantastic.
@jchaytor16: This isn’t a tweet announcing the immediate departure of Steve Bruce?
@NUFC_Sanders: This will forever be known as the Cabbage derby on Sky Sports. Two teams, one cabbage & no cups
@olliemaxwell14: Great, I look forward to watching two “False 10’s” in action and a Manager with absolutely no idea of what he’s doing on Sky. Thanks
@TheMaximinEra: Get Bruce out and I’ll watch. Until then I’m not supporting anything. All false. Up the saints
@RoryNUFC94: Bruce better be gone by then
@HarryEvanz1310: Not watching anymore of this shit until he’s gone
@robcarter35: Thanks for the heads up now know to arrange to do something more entertaining like watching paint dry #BRUCEOUT
@Tommywright4343 (Replying to @swfc): Unbeaten run continues
@adam25869396: Probably for best tbf main thing is everyone’s health, UTO
@RichLido: All the very best to everyone at the club, wishing you all a speedy recovery and let’s hope that we can see football return safely soon.
@MI5Mantle: Time to pick out our new manager?
@ScottPearson10: Sounds by right team in form will play again when there not load of shite this now people abusing system should be punished
@WeaverRacing: Just when we have got into a rhythm. The only time we ever get two wins in a row there is an international break and we go down 3-0 when football resumes. Ah well.
@Chr15PG (Replying to @LUFC): FUMING! Flights booked and everything to come over and watch it!!! Never think about the fans do they
@CJ_Randell: At least we know if we stay up the educated pundits will use the postponement as an excuse.
@cpeno: Good, more time to work on defending set pieces
@barney___21: Can tickets be moved for the rescheduled date?