Premier League: No deadline over when to postpone games due to coronavirus outbreaks

The Premier League has no intention of imposing a deadline over when to postpone games due to outbreaks of coronavirus, despite criticism over late decisions to rearrange two matches in three days.

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho expressed his frustration as his side did not know whether their match against Fulham would go ahead four hours before kick-off on Wednesday.

Mourinho posted on Instagram: “Match at 6pm… We still don’t know if we play. Best league in the world.”

The Premier League published news of the postponement less than three hours before kick-off, but both clubs were informed of the board’s decision prior to the public announcement.

On Monday confirmation of Everton’s postponed fixture against Manchester City came less than four hours before kick-off after advice from medical experts.

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The match was due to have been attended by 2,000 supporters, prior to new restrictions imposed by the government on Thursday, and Everton have asked officials to provide “full disclosure” of the reasons behind the decision.

Sky Sports News has been told the Premier League has no plans to impose a deadline on when to reach a decision over a postponement, after its board reached decisions only when all the information was made available to them on the same day as the affected games involving Everton versus Manchester City and Tottenham against Fulham.

Clubs are now conducting testing at least twice a week, as they did following the restart of last season.

The Premier League board – chair Gary Hoffman, chief executive Richard Masters, outgoing non-executive director Claudia Arney and non-executive director Kevin Beeston – has the final decision on all postponements, which must only be made in “exceptional” circumstances and judged on a “case-by-case” basis.

Officials have yet to confirm the rearranged dates for the three postponed games this month – which also includes Aston Villa vs Newcastle – and the Premier League has ruled out suspending the season.

A statement on Wednesday said: “The Premier League has not discussed pausing the season and has no plans to do so. The League continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled, and these protocols continue to have the full backing of Government.

“With the health of players and staff the priority, the league is also fully supportive of how clubs are implementing the protocols and rules.”

Premier League rules out private supplies of coronavirus vaccine for clubs

The Premier League continues to rule out attempting to source a private supply of coronavirus vaccine despite a recent flurry of postponements of top-flight matches.

It was revealed at the start of December that the league had ruled out any move to secure its own supply, and it is understood recent developments have not changed that position.

The league is understood to believe that the most vulnerable in society should receive the vaccine first, and in any case, at present, demand outstrips supply and governments around the world have bought up stocks before manufacturers have even produced them.

It is understood clubs have expressed a willingness to assist with the rollout of vaccines, which will now be able to take place on a much greater scale following the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday.

Brighton are understood to be willing to help in any way they can if approached to do so.

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