Premier League officials are set to reject requests to postpone games in the event of Covid outbreaks amongst top-flight sides, with clubs required to fulfil fixtures unless they have fewer than 14 players available.
The 2020/21 season is set to begin this weekend with the division’s authorities determined to finish the rescheduled and congested campaign on time ahead of next summer’s European Championships, with clubs having been informed that fixtures will need to be fulfilled even in the event of significant coronavirus outbreaks amongst top-flight squads.
According to the Mail, Premier League clubs will be required to fulfil fixtures unless they have less than 14 players available for selection, including U21 players, who they will be obliged to play in the event of such circumstances.
There was an increase in positive coronavirus tests following the return of Premier League players from their summer holidays, with Chelsea believed to have at least six players receiving positive results and a further two having been put into self-isolation as part of guidelines.
A number of players across 12 different clubs returned positive tests during pre-season, though the Premier League’s ‘extreme reluctance’ and ‘high bar’ they have set to postpone fixtures means that any requests to delay games are likely to be denied.
The report adds that requests for postponements will also be rejected if any player has breached Covid-19 protocols or government guidance, with clubs required to promote young players to their first-team squad if they have played as little as one minute of senior action in the Premier League, EFL or overseas divisions.
If any fixtures are not fulfilled, the Premier League are said to be willing to hit clubs with a variety of sanctions, including warnings, fines or even points deductions for repeat offenders.
The 2020/21 season is set to begin this Saturday with the opening fixture between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage, with the scheduled final day set for May 23 – a date the Premier League are desperate to adhere to in order to avoid potential financial and legal problems with the rescheduled European Championships also set for next summer.