Football

EPL to continue, despite 40 new positive Covid-19 cases

The English Premier League confirmed yesterday that 40 players and staff tested positive for the coronavirus in two rounds of testing over the past week but insisted the season would continue as planned.

That figure is more than double the previous record of 18 positive cases and comes as England enters a nationwide lockdown to halt soaring infection rates.

Three matches were postponed last week due to outbreaks of Covid-19 at Manchester City and Fulham.

However, the British government has given the go-ahead for elite sport to continue despite the tighter restrictions.

Twice-weekly testing, used during the Project Restart plan to complete last season, has resumed in the EPL after being scaled down to once a week at the start of the season.

In the first round of testing last week, 28 positive cases were detected from 1,311 tests, with a further 12 positives from 984 tests in the second round of testing.

Despite the postponements, rising case numbers and calls from some within the game for a circuit breaker to buy time and bring infection rates down, the EPL said it remained confident the season could proceed as planned.

"With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the league continues to have confidence in its Covid-19 protocols, fully backed by the government, to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled," the league said in a statement yesterday.

The packed fixture schedule, with leagues, cup and European competitions having to be finished before the delayed Euro 2020 starting on June 11, leaves little room for manoeuvre. - AFP

Football