By STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer
The English Premier League lost another game to a COVID-19 outbreak in one team when Aston Villa’s home game against Burnley was postponed around two hours before kick-off on Saturday.
Villa said he did not have enough players to field a team following more positive tests in his squad which were reported early on Saturday. The league approved Villa’s request to postpone the game “based on the number of COVID-19 cases, injuries and illnesses”.
Five games scheduled for this weekend had already been called off due to coronavirus outbreaks in teams amid a worsening health emergency in Britain as the omicron variant spreads.
The league said the remaining four games – Leeds-Arsenal on Saturday and Newcastle-Manchester City, Wolverhampton-Chelsea and Tottenham-Liverpool on Sunday – “are currently expected to go as planned”.
The total number of games postponed over the past week stands at 10. Only six games were called off over the whole of last season due to the coronavirus.
Burnley has had two games postponed on game day in the past four days. His home game against Watford was also called off hours before kick-off on Wednesday.
Many Burnley fans are said to have made their way to Villa Park when the postponement was announced and Villa apologized for the inconvenience, saying the club “acted as quickly as possible this morning to minimize the disruption”.
“The results of the PCR tests, which were carried out yesterday before practice as well as the lateral flow tests, were received this morning,” Villa said in a statement, “and confirmed further exhaustion of our playing team. which was already impacted for our midweek trip to Norwich.
Premier League managers will meet on Monday to discuss the COVID-19 situation, with some managers – like Thomas Frank of Brentford – advocating a break in the game to reduce outbreaks, and others saying the matches should continue .
The league has already reintroduced emergency measures such as more frequent testing and wearing face masks indoors. Its board of directors assesses requests for postponement of matches on a case-by-case basis and “based on existing rules and COVID-19 postponement guidelines provided to all clubs.”
In the other major European footballing countries, the schedule was hardly disturbed.
All of the weekend’s Bundesliga and Second Division games went as planned in Germany, but with few to no fans in attendance. The country’s coronavirus infection rate fell again on Saturday, according to the latest figures on record from the Robert Koch Institute, continuing a gradual decline over the past three weeks.
The Coupe de France matches were going as planned and the Serie A matches were going as planned with 75% capacity in the stadiums.
The Spanish league continued to play despite an outbreak that sidelined several Real Madrid players. Authorities have allowed football stadiums to operate at full capacity since the end of September.
AP Sports writer Ciaran Fahey in Berlin and Associated Press writers Daniella Matar in Milan, Italy, and Joseph Wilson in Barcelona, Spain, contributed to this story.
More AP football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.