Premier coaches will discuss COVID outbreak in clubs

LONDON (AP) – Coaches from Premier League clubs will meet Monday to discuss how the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened, which in advance has caused the postponement of half of the weekend’s games. and the confinement of several league stars.

Half of the meetings scheduled for the weekend were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreaks in the clubs, which highlights the worsening of the health emergency system in Great Britain due to the spread of the omicron variant.

Opinions vary on what steps to take next. Some technicians are in favor of suspending the matches on the grounds of impartiality. Others consider that the games must go on.

“Obviously there is a lot of concern and a lot of questions to answer,” said Aston Villa helmsman Steven Gerrard. “That is the reason why the Premier League has established for Monday an opportunity for the coaches to meet and I hope there will be a lot of clarity after that meeting.”

Chelsea strategist Thomas Tuchel said on Monday he had read the regulations.

“I forgot it immediately because there are many rules,” he acknowledged.

Team captains also plan to have dialogue, said Gerrard, a former Liverpool captain.

The Premier in advance has reestablished emergency measures – including more constant tests and the use of a mask in closed spaces – but affirmed that its intention was to maintain the current calendar “where it is safe to do so.”

The league explained that its board of directors was evaluating requests to postpone games on a case-by-case basis and “based on existing regulations and COVID-19 postponement guidelines issued to all clubs.”

The most recent postponements brought the total number of games suspended this week for English football’s top division to nine.

Two games were played on Thursday despite the absence of key players due to positive COVID-19 tests. Chelsea were without Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi in the 1-1 draw with Everton. Ben Chilwell, who is out with injury, also tested positive.

Tuchel said daily tests have not produced another positive result on Friday.

“But the lottery starts again tomorrow,” he said.

With a squad decimated for Sunday’s engagement at Wolverhampton, Tuchel could be forced to start with Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante, which he called “crazy” given Kovacic barely returned to training on Friday after isolating himself from contagion. of coronavirus and Kante recovers from an injury.

In addition to the postponement of Manchester United-Brighton on Saturday, the English league announced the postponement of the following matches: Southampton-Brentford, Watford-Crystal Palace, West Ham-Norwich (all Saturday) and Everton-Leicester (Sunday).

Only five games would be played over the weekend.

At least league-leading Manchester City got good news. His coach Pep Guardiola tested negative for coronavirus on Friday night, hours after an inconclusive analysis, according to local media.

The Spanish coach canceled his pre-match press conference, but the follow-up test apparently gave him the go-ahead to visit Newcastle on Sunday, with a nearly full squad.

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