Premier League agrees new Covid measures to stem outbreaks at clubs

The Tottenham game has been canceled due to the outbreak of the disease in Tottenham

Premier League players and club staff will need to take a lateral flow test every day to get into training grounds under new measures agreed on Tuesday to combat the Omicron coronavirus.

The measure aims to stem the increasing number of positive Covid cases.

The Premier League confirmed on Monday that there had been 42 positive points over the previous seven days.

It is the highest number recorded since Covid testing began as part of Project Restart during the 2019-20 season.

Previously, the most positive tests returned during the week of this season were 16 from August 16-22, when there were 3,060 tests.

Outbreak in Tottenham and Manchester United It caused two league matches to be postponed within three days, while Brighton, Leicester, Aston Villa and Norwich have all confirmed cases.

In addition to daily tests for entry to the training grounds, players and staff will now undergo a PCR test at least twice a week, as was the case last season, before it is changed to lateral flow tests in the summer.

It is expected that measures will be implemented quickly in an effort to stem the spread of the new Omicron variant. Additional mask wearing, limiting time spent receiving physical therapy and social distancing are also advised to reduce the risk of further cases.

As the season approaches a busy holiday program, clubs will want to avoid delays that could lead to a backlog and possibly leave the league open to requests for rebates from broadcast partners, which should have been paid when the 2019-20 season was underway. It was suspended at the beginning of the epidemic.

However, West Ham manager David Moyes believes the schedule “plays a role” in the serving, adding: “The players get a little time to recover and when you recover, you are more likely to contract the virus.

“What we’re putting on players at the moment… it shows with how many players have contracted the virus.”

Last week, after the introduction of new coronavirus rules in England, the Premier League Tell clubs to return to emergency measuresIncluding social distancing and wearing masks.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber told BBC Sport his club is now “moving to testing three times a week” for players and staff who are working “in the bubble” to try to limit the number of infections spreading from player to player. .

From Wednesday, fans will need to show evidence of double vaccination or test negative to attend sporting events with crowds of more than 10,000 people in England. This includes Premier League matches.

Stadiums have been free to operate at full capacity since the final Covid restrictions were lifted in July.

A fan passes a billboard showing ways to keep you safe on the field
Fans will need a Covid ticket to attend Premier League matches from Wednesday

Which Premier League clubs have the Covid-19 outbreak?

Tottenham The Europa League match against Rennes on Thursday was canceled due to the outbreak which led to the postponement of the Brighton match.

Also on Thursday, a number of Lister The players did not travel to Italy for their Europa League match against Napoli due to positive Covid-19 tests.

The Premier League confirmed late on Monday Manchester United The match in Brentford was postponed after Old Trafford expressed safety concerns after the training ground was closed for 24 hours to reduce the risk of transmission.

Aston Villa Steven Gerrard, head of the task force, confirmed that “two staff members and two players” had tested positive, but insisted that the “vast majority” had tested negative. Gerrard’s side managed to play Tuesday’s Premier League match in Norwich, with manager Dean Smith saying before the match that one of his players was in isolation but the rest of the team tested negative on Sunday.

in a Brighton, There are “three or four” positive cases, says Graham Potter, technical director of the technical director.

in the tournament, QPR’s The second game in a week has been called off with “a number of positive Covid-19 cases” in the first team squad.

Saturday’s match with Swansea was suspended after that Monday trip to Sheffield United It has also been postponed.

What do Premier League managers say about Covid-19?

before the postponement, Brentford President Thomas Frank Arsenal Mikel Arteta in Calls for more clarity from the Premier League Changes in formulations due to Covid-19.

Manchester Pep Guardiola, the coach, said he encourages his players to get a booster vaccine, adding: “We talk to the players every day to say be careful. Stay healthy, wear masks, social distance.”

Conversely Burnley Manager Sean Daichi has revealed that he does not “preach players” about vaccinations, but Smith of Norwich described the Canary Islands as “highly immune”.

Daiichi added: “We definitely have players who do not have the full vaccination. Everyone has a choice, personally I have all three because I think it is right to do so.”

What are the rules for fans in English Premier League matches?

The government’s presentation of ‘Plan B’ on Wednesday to combat the spread of the Omicron variant means fans will be required to show evidence of double vaccination or a negative test to attend sporting events with crowds of more than 10,000 people in England.

Premier League clubs have carried out surprise checks on fans so far this season, with Brighton, Chelsea and Tottenham among those making Covid passes mandatory.

Brighton play Wolverhampton in the Premier League on Wednesday, and Seagulls chief executive Paul Barber said he hoped that as long as fans follow new measures, there will be no return to restrictions on match attendance numbers.

Barber said Brighton fans will have to complete a pre-match announcement online and “ideally” wear masks inside the stadium.

“It appears to be a small price to pay for keeping each other safe, protecting the NHS and hopefully keeping the stadium open to full capacity,” Barber added.

“The government expects us to do more random checks than we did previously, so there’s a good chance it will take longer to arrive.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said he “appreciates” testing of “football players and staff” at significant volumes, and said the current measures were “proportionate” and “for the time being”.

Asked about vaccination levels in the sport, Huddleston added: “A lot of athletes have been vaccinated and have been great advocates for vaccinating others. I really appreciate that.”

“Those who have not yet been vaccinated for a variety of reasons, I strongly encourage them to do so. There will always be some people who cannot get vaccinated, we understand that, but the key message is please don’t just get vaccinated but use your celebrity to make sure Country.

“The important thing is that they are testing in high volumes, which is great. The message for footballers, everyone, is to get vaccinated, get a booster because that is the best way to protect yourself and others. I appreciate the fact that football is testing a lot because that is also important.” .

What about the EFL?

In the 2020-21 season, the Professional Footballers’ Association paid a bill estimated at £5m for players to be tested across the English Football League. But until this point in the 2021-22 season, there was no mandatory requirement for clubs to test players.

was EFL Directive issued in July About two protocols “green” and “red”. Clubs are following ‘green’ protocols for daily symptomatic screening, with stricter ‘red’ protocols including testing only run by any local outbreaks, and the government imposing more restrictions – as it has in recent days.

A decision to switch to the “red” protocols will be made by the league in consultation with the clubs.

The association told BBC Sport on Tuesday that “talks on Covid matters are continuing”.

Meanwhile, matches in the tournament are affected, with QPR on Tuesday forced to postpone a second match within days amid the club’s Covid outbreak.

What about Scotland?

No new official guidelines have been put in place yet – other than the continued use of lateral flow testing – although some clubs are taking their extra precautions around testing.

New advice was introduced at the weekend about travel, in which clubs were told if anyone on the team bus tested positive, all passengers would have to self-isolate for 10 days.

However, this was modified after clarification from the Scottish Government. Now only household contacts or those that are not vaccinated with a negative test will not be erased.

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