The English Premier League is set to continue with its tightly-packed Christmas schedule despite several clubs battling a COVID-19 outbreak following the discovery of the Omicron variant.
This was confirmed in a statement released on Monday, following the conclusion of the Premier League club meeting, where it was decided that fixtures should proceed as scheduled.
Six fixtures in England’s top flight were postponed at the weekend, while Chelsea made an unsuccessful request for their game at Wolves to be called off too due to a rise in cases at the club.
Tottenham Hotspur, Man United, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Liverpool and a host of other clubs have seen their activities and operations affected heavily by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Excerpts from the statement read, ” 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.
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“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 Premier League decision serves as a blow for managers Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel who called on the league to help ease out the burden clubs faced in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and injuries in a game-packed December period.
Klopp lamenting after Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Spurs said, “We play now on Wednesday, Sunday and Tuesday, that is impossible. We do not have the players.
“We could maybe have another (COVID-19) case or two. We have to think about it, we cannot just push it all through.
An upset Tuchel speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on his team during the weekend said, “I gave my opinion, the club gave its opinion, we talk a lot about the safety and protecting the players, I’m not so sure we did this today, on we go,”
“If we have tomorrow and the next test and the next positive, I would like to speak to the Premier League about what they expect. If they make us play against Brentford shall we not arrive or not train? What should we do?