The Premier League schedule has been messed up by the recent COVID outbreak in England and several people want the league to come to a halt. In the past month, there has been a steep rise in cases in the UK and with the football stadiums still entertaining full capacity crowds, fears are growing that things are only going to worsen.
Over the past two weeks, several matches have had to be postponed due to players being unavailable due to COVID while some teams have been forced to play their games despite having the bare-minimum squad strength. It will obviously be sensible to put the breaks on at this point but despite many teams missing a series of players, the authorities are not going to enforce a circuit-breaker.
The Premier League held an emergency meeting on Monday, following which they released a statement which reads:
‘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.
🚨 Thomas Tuchel was "furious that his team was forced to play" against Wolves yesterday after 7 positive cases of COVID-19 were found in his squad.
Chelsea are threatening not to show up against Brentford on Wednesday.
(Source: Daily Mirror) pic.twitter.com/0WXszXNOTu
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) December 20, 2021
‘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.’
Why is the Premier League still continuing?
As per a report in The Athletic, several Premier League clubs are against the idea of a break since they fear there will be a fixture file-up and they will also have to play in front of an empty stadium.
The Premier League has decided against postponing a full round of fixtures amid Covid-19 outbreaks at several clubs.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 20, 2021
Unlike last year, the Premier League sides are not ready to throw in the towel despite the rising cases but the authorities have made it clear that they will follow every government guideline. So if the UK government chooses to pause sporting events then the PL will have to follow suit.
How many players have gotten vaccinated to date?
There has been major outrage against Premier League players refusing to take the vaccine but the authorities have now confirmed that 77% of the top flight’s players have been double-vaccinated against Covid-19, with 84% having received at least one dose.
These are fairly good numbers as compared to the outrage but there’s no denying that the club’s need to ensure that each and every player and staff member gets fully vaccinated.