The Premier League has approved the postponement of the Boxing day clash between Everton and Burnley, it confirmed in a statement on Friday.
It becomes the third boxing day fixture to be postponed following Liverpool’s home game against Leeds United and the Wolves’ clash with Watford.
Benitez revealed that his Everton side was down to just nine outfield players due to COVID-19 cases and injuries in a press conference on Thursday.
According to Benitez, five Everton players have tested positive for COVID-19 after the 1-1 draw with Everton, in addition to a long injury list.
Everton had earlier pushed for the game at Turf Moor to be postponed, with Benitez saying he was “surprised” it was still on when he spoke on Thursday.
Granting Everton’s wish, the Premier League on Friday, said it regrettably approved the postponement of the match due to further injuries suffered by Benitez’s side.
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The statement reads, “The board reviewed the club’s request today to postpone the match following further injuries to their squad,” the Premier League said in a statement.
“They concluded that the club will not be able to fulfil their fixture this weekend as a result of an insufficient number of players available to play due to COVID-19 cases and injuries.
“The board this morning was able to make its decision in advance of Boxing Day to give clarity to clubs and their fans. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to those supporters’ festive plans.
“The league is aware that the decisions this week to postpone three matches on Boxing Day will disappoint supporters, and understands their frustrations at a special time of year when fans look forward to attending and watching football games.”
The Premier League and its clubs elected to play on after a Monday meeting, even as the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads rapidly in England.
The league added on Friday: “While recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is the clubs’ and the league’s collective intention to continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible.“