Two Premier League Boxing Day games due to COVID-19 outbreaks
LONDON – The coronavirus outbreaks in Leeds and Watford have resulted in the postponement of two Premier League games scheduled for Sunday in the latest disruption to competition caused by increased cases in squads.
Leeds were due to travel to Liverpool and Watford were to play Wolverhampton as part of the Boxing Day schedule which has seven more matches.
The Premier League has now canceled 12 games due to coronavirus concerns in two weeks, with players having to self-isolate after testing positive or if they are not vaccinated and in close contact with a case of COVID-19.
“The league is aware that the decision to postpone these two matches will disappoint fans and understand their frustrations at a particular time of the year when fans are eager to attend and watch football matches,” said the Premier. League in a statement Thursday.
Games are also wiped out further down in the leagues, with six of Sunday’s 10 games in the Second Division championship postponed.
The Leeds training ground has been closed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, with five new positive cases among the team and staff reported on Thursday.
“All of the cases we have encountered are asymptomatic, which we believe is due to our high vaccination rate,” Leeds said. “The positive cases, combined with our well-documented injury issues, mean we wouldn’t have enough recognized first-team players to meet the Premier League’s requirements for the game.”
Watford has told the league that with the players coming out of isolation, he expects to be able to play at West Ham on Tuesday.
Confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Britain, where the omicron variant is now dominant, increased by almost 60% in one week.
After recording a record 90 positive cases last week, the Premier League urged players to get vaccinated with 16% yet to receive a single dose. While more than 90% of players in the Italian and Spanish leagues have been fully vaccinated, the Premier League said on Monday that only 77% of its players had been doubled.
While Serie A are on their scheduled winter break, Serie B have postponed two full rounds of games scheduled for Sunday and Wednesday following a string of positive cases that resulted in two games being postponed to the previous round. The second division will resume on January 13.
The last Serie A games of the year were on Wednesday, with the next games scheduled for January 6. A match that was scheduled for Tuesday, Udinese-Salernitana, has not been played.