Five Premier League matches have been postponed in recent days due to COVID-19, with one manager wanting all top-flight fixtures this weekend to be called off amid the ongoing Omicron crisis.
Manchester United confirmed its fixture against Brighton, scheduled for Saturday, had been postponed due to a number of players and support staff in the Red Devils camp having to isolate.
Training at Man Utd’s Carrington complex has also been suspended to prevent further transmission of the virus.
Meanwhile, the Leicester City match against Tottenham, due to take place tonight, has also been postponed following further positive COVID-19 tests among the first team squad, which meant Leicester did not have enough available players.
It comes as Brentford’s manager Thomas Frank called for all this weekend’s Premier League fixtures to be called off as cases are “going through the roof”.
But the Premier League is resisting calls to suspend all matches, saying: “While recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is the league’s intention to continue its current fixture schedule where safely possible. The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority.”
Brentford’s game with Manchester United on Tuesday was postponed due to a COVID outbreak in the United camp.
The west London club is also scheduled to face Southampton this Saturday.
Yesterday, Watford’s trip to Burnley was called off just hours before kick-off due to an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak within the Hornets’ squad.
And last Sunday, Brighton’s match against Spurs was postponed.
Frank was told during a news conference today that four new positive cases had been found at his club – taking the total to 13.
He said: “We think we should postpone the full round of Premier League games this weekend.
“COVID cases are going through the roof at all Premier League clubs, everyone is dealing with it and having problems.
“To postpone this round and also the Carabao Cup round would give everyone a week at least, or four or five days to clean and do everything at the training ground so everything is clean and you break the chain.”
Frank added that delaying this weekend’s fixtures could help ensure football matches around the Christmas week will still be able to go ahead.
He said: “We fully respect that we want to play and it is important football keeps going, and this way we can make sure Boxing Day keeps going, I’m 100% sure of that.
“This Omicron variant is running like wildfire around the world and I think we need to do all we can to protect and avoid it. I think we can do a lot by closing down training grounds for three, four or five days, and then we can go again.”
The rapid rise in COVID cases due to the Omicron variant sweeping the nation has prompted England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty to warn Britons to consider cutting back socialising around Christmas.
He told the public “don’t mix with people you don’t have to” at events that are not considered the most important to them.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added people should “think carefully” before going out to celebrate.