EPL brought to its knees with more COVID chaos

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The English Premier League’s pandemic-affected schedule took a further deed connected Saturday erstwhile a COVID-19 outbreak successful Aston Villa’s squad sparked the postponement of its lucifer against Burnley, reducing the fig of fixtures successful the circular to four.

England continued to beryllium the astir heavy disrupted of the large shot countries successful Europe, reflecting the increasing nationalist wellness exigency successful Britain arsenic the omicron variant spreads.

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So depleted was the Premier League schedule, determination was lone 1 crippled connected Saturday -- Arsenal’s 4-1 triumph implicit Leeds. That was played contempt Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta saying determination had been much coronavirus cases among the club’s players and staff.

Villa-Burnley was scheduled to beryllium the different crippled but it was called disconnected astir 2 hours earlier kickoff, with Villa telling the league it did not person capable players to tract a squad pursuing much affirmative tests successful its squad that were reported aboriginal Saturday.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18: Grounds unit instrumentality down the extremity nets arsenic the crippled is postponed owed to COVID 19 anterior to the Premier League lucifer betwixt Aston Villa and Burnley astatine Villa Park connected December 18, 2021 successful Birmingham, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) (Getty)

The league approved Villa’s petition to postpone the lucifer “based connected the fig of COVID-19 cases, injuries and illness.”

Five matches scheduled for this play had already been called disconnected due to the fact that of coronavirus outbreaks successful squads.

The league said the games acceptable for Sunday — Newcastle-Manchester City, Wolverhampton-Chelsea and Tottenham-Liverpool — “are presently scheduled to proceed arsenic planned.”

The full fig of games to person been postponed implicit the past week stands astatine 10. Only six games were called disconnected successful the full of past play due to the fact that of the coronavirus.

Burnley has had 2 games postponed connected the time of the fixture successful the past 4 days. Its location lucifer against Watford was besides called disconnected a fewer hours earlier kickoff connected Wednesday.

Many Burnley fans would person been traveling to Villa Park erstwhile the postponement was announced and Villa apologized for the inconvenience, saying the nine “acted arsenic swiftly arsenic imaginable this greeting to minimize disruption.”

“The results of PCR tests, which were taken yesterday anterior to grooming arsenic good arsenic lateral travel tests, were received this morning,” Villa said successful a statement, “and confirmed further depletion of our playing squad which was already impacted upon for our travel to Norwich successful midweek.”

Premier League managers volition conscionable connected Monday to sermon the COVID-19 situation, with immoderate managers — specified arsenic Brentford's Thomas Frank — advocating a interruption successful play to trim the outbreaks, and others saying the games should continue.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18: Aston Villa fans bargain a lucifer time programme arsenic the crippled is postponed owed to Covid-19 anterior to the Premier League lucifer betwixt Aston Villa and Burnley astatine Villa Park connected December 18, 2021 successful Birmingham, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images) (Getty)

The league has already reintroduced exigency measures specified arsenic much predominant investigating and wearing look masks indoors. Its committee assesses applications to postpone matches connected a case-by-case ground and “based connected existing rules and COVID-19 postponement guidance issued to each clubs.”

In Europe's different large shot countries, determination was minimal disturbance to the schedule.

All of the weekend’s Bundesliga and second-division games went up arsenic planned successful Germany, albeit with fewer oregon nary fans attending. The country’s coronavirus-infection complaint dropped again connected Saturday, according to the latest registered figures from the Robert Koch Institute, continuing a gradual alteration implicit the past 3 weeks.

French Cup games were going up arsenic planned, and Serie A games were taking spot arsenic scheduled with 75% capableness successful stadiums.

The Spanish league was keeping games connected contempt an outbreak that has sidelined respective Real Madrid players. Authorities person allowed shot stadiums to beryllium astatine afloat capableness since the extremity of September.

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