Burnley hasn’t played a home game in almost a month due to the Premier League postponing four games due to COVID-19 and another due to heavy snow. Their match against Watford was initially planned for December 15, but it was moved to Tuesday due to an increase in COVID-19 cases among their opponents’ players.
After Burnley’s request, the game has been postponed once more, this time owing to coronavirus, injuries, and players being away on Africa Cup of Nations duty. The Premier League has postponed up to 20 games due to a policy that has recently attracted controversy.
Taking Advantage of the Protocols
Only Manchester City, Chelsea, and West Ham have played all 22 games so far this season, as none of their games have been suspended due to COVID-19.
“I strongly, strongly hope that [teams abusing the protocols] is not the case,” Thomas Tuchel said recently.
“Otherwise I would be very, very angry. We are doing everything to make games happen and we were made to play when we thought we should maybe not. I can only strongly hope that the rules are the same rules for everybody otherwise… yeah.”
Due to injuries, sanctions, and AFCON duty, Liverpool’s Carabao Cup match against Arsenal was postponed, while the North London derby against Tottenham was also postponed. Arsenal could not count on 15 footballers due to injuries, sanctions, and AFCON duty, but they had one player sidelined due to COVID-19.
About the Protocols Statement
Many have criticized the Premier League’s regulations as being too ambiguous, accusing certain clubs of abusing COVID-19 to have games postponed.
“Where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players, the match will be postponed,” the Premier League stressed through a release.
Gary Neville, a former Manchester United defender who now works as a TV pundit, has urged for the Premier League to amend its regulations about when a game should be postponed.
He wrote on Twitter: “What started as postponements due to a pandemic has now become about clubs not having their best team.”
“The Premier League must stop this now, draw a line in the sand and say all games go ahead unless you have an exceptional amount of CV cases. It’s wrong.”