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    Wednesday, December 30, 2020

    Tottenham Match Against Fulham Postponed

    Fulham's match at Tottenham on Wednesday was called off just over three hours before kick-off due to a coronavirus outbreak at the west London club.

    It is the second Premier League match to be postponed due to Covid this week after Manchester City's visit to Everton on Monday fell foul to several positive tests at the Etihad Stadium club.

    Fulham said ‘a number’ of players and first-team staff had returned positive tests and the entire group is now set to be retested immediately, with those who are positive set to isolate in line with Premier League and Government guidelines.

    The decision will increase pressure on the top flight for a two-week 'circuit breaker' – backed by West Brom boss Sam Allardyce on Tuesday – but in a statement the Premier League insisted it was confident of completing its remaining fixtures as scheduled.

    Confirming the postponement, a Premier League spokesperson said: “Fulham lodged a request with the Premier League Board to rearrange the fixture following a significant rise in positive COVID-19 cases, as well as a number of players showing symptoms today.

    "The Premier League Board has consulted its medical advisors and the decision to postpone the game has been taken as a precaution and with the health of players and staff as the priority. The group will now be retested immediately.

    “With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the Premier League continues to have full confidence in its COVID-19 protocols and being able to continue to play our fixtures as scheduled.”

    The League said the fixture would be rearranged “in due course”.

    The final decision on Wednesday's London derby was made by the Premier League board, with both clubs in the dark until just over three hours before kick-off.

    In a statement, Spurs said: “The Premier League informed us of the decision this afternoon, with Fulham having requested the postponement on the grounds of the number of COVID-19 positive cases among their players and staff. Details of a new date for the fixture will be confirmed in due course."

    The Premier League announced 18 positive tests last week – the most since the testing programme began – with City, Arsenal and the Blades also confirming positive cases this week.

    Clubs have not discussed the prospect of a two-week 'circuit breaker', in which all matches would be postponed to allow outbreaks to come under control, while managers are in disagreement over the wisdom of halting the season.

    "I am 66 years old and the last thing I want to do is catch Covid," said Allardyce after West Brom’s 5-0 defeat at Leeds on Tuesday. "I'm very concerned for myself and football in general. If that's what needs to be done we need to do it."

    Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he "can't see the benefit" of a circuit breaker.

    Fulham manager Scott Parker missed his side's goalless draw with Southampton on Boxing Day after a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus but tested negative on Sunday, ensuring he was able to return to the training ground at the start of this week following a period of self-isolation.

    Sheffield United's game at Burnley on Monday went ahead, despite "a couple" of Blades players and "half a dozen" staff returning positive tests.

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