October 23, 2021


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Allardyce calls for Premier League break as COVID-19 cases rise

3 min read

West Brom boss Sam Allardyce says football needs an urgent break after the Premier League returned its highest number of positive Covid-19 results in a single round of tests this season.

On Tuesday, the latest round of Premier League testing found 18 people had the virus.

New coronavirus cases at Fulham led to their Premier League match at Tottenham on Wednesday being called off.

“I’m very concerned for myself and football in general,” Allardyce said.

Sheffield United have confirmed they had “numerous positive tests” in the latest round of testing.

On Monday, Manchester City’s Premier League match at Everton was postponed four hours before kick-off because of a coronavirus outbreak.

Allardyce said a “circuit break” was the “right thing” to do to cope with the outbreak.

“Everyone’s safety is more important than anything else,” he added after West Brom’s 5-0 home defeat by Leeds on Tuesday.

“When I listen to the news that the variant virus transmits quicker than the original virus, we can only do the right thing, which is to have a circuit break.

“I am 66 years old and the last thing I want to do is catch Covid-19.

“As much as we’re getting tested – we had one positive this week – it seems to be creeping round. No matter how hard we try, no matter how many times we get tested, how we wear our masks, how we sanitise our hands, we’re still catching a lot of infections round the country.

“If that helps [circuit breaker], let’s do it and let the season run a little longer when we get through it.”

In the EFL, coronavirus outbreaks at clubs led to seven of Tuesday’s 12 scheduled League One games being postponed.

The league, which until now has carried out targeted testing, will conduct coronavirus tests with all 72 of its clubs in the week commencing 4 January.

Oxford United manager Karl Robinson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme some clubs were getting “sloppy”.

“I can’t come on 100%, but what I know is that certain clubs are doing things slightly wrong,” he continued.

“I think there’s some clubs using gyms inside with too many players. If we want our game to carry on, which in my view I think it should, I think we have to get back to how we were when football first returned.”

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl operated from home via a video link for his side’s goalless draw with West Ham on Tuesday after a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus.

In League Two, a coronavirus outbreak at Morecambe has caused two of their games – at Bolton Wanderers and Bradford – to be postponed.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo also reacted to the latest round of Premier League testing figures after his side’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester United on Tuesday.

“The rising of the cases is increasing massively over the country and we are not an exception,” the Portuguese said.

“Some things are impossible to avoid. If there’s a break coming, then people have to sit down and see if it’s for the better.”

However, the Premier League says it has “full confidence” that fixtures will be fulfilled.

Following the postponement of Fulham’s game at Tottenham, it said: “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.”

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