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HomeUK NewsPremier League and EFL decide against suspending Christmas schedule amid COVID outbreaks

Premier League and EFL decide against suspending Christmas schedule amid COVID outbreaks

The Premier League and English Football League (EFL) have decided against suspending their Christmas schedules, despite COVID outbreaks at several clubs.

The Premier League called a shareholder meeting to discuss postponing a full round of fixtures, but the idea was rejected.

In a statement, it said it is their “collective intention to continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible”. On coronavirus vaccination, it said 92% of players and club staff have had a least one dose, while 84% of players are “on the vaccination journey”.

The EFL said it will carry on with matches amid a “daily testing regime and ongoing vaccination roll-out”.

Chief executive Trevor Birch said: “We will continue to work with clubs, authorities and other agencies to monitor the COVID-19 case rate and be prepared to respond accordingly, yet for now the view remains that we can continue to deliver games safely where clubs have sufficient healthy personnel in place, on and off the pitch.”

The latest vaccine data for November found one in four EFL players does not intend to be vaccinated.

The figures showed 75% of players across the EFL are either fully vaccinated, have had a single jab, or intend to be vaccinated.

Some 59% of EFL players are double vaccinated, while 16% are set to have the jab.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has urged footballers to get immunised and suggested the Merseyside club will not consider signing unvaccinated players.

Six Premier League games were postponed over the weekend.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank called for all top-flight fixtures on Saturday and Sunday to be called off.

With 13 cases at his west London club, he said infections were “going through the roof”.

But the league resisted his suggestion, saying it wanted to continue with the schedule “where safely possible”.

Tottenham have been one of the hardest-hit clubs: Sunday’s match at home to Liverpool was their first in a fortnight.

The FA is considering scrapping third and fourth-round FA Cup replays this season to help reduce fixture congestion.

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