Even the best defense in the league can’t stop the omikron variant. As football’s busiest week approaches, the virus is spreading more severely than ever in England. Half of the 10 Premier League matches this weekend have been postponed. Opinions about the approach are divided: one wants to cancel everything, the other continues to play. Who gets his way?
Manchester United – Brighton: postponed.
Southampton – Brentford: postponed.
Watford – Crystal Palace: postponed.
West Ham – Norwich: postponed.
Everton – Leicester: postponed.
Enthusiastic viewers of “Match of the Day” will swear. The popular BBC football program will be much shorter than usual this weekend. Due to the Corona outbreak in various clubs, half of the matches have been postponed.
Romelu Lukaku, among others, was one of 42 players to have tested positive in recent days. So the virus is making everyone really young.
Some clubs hit more than others. For example, Brentford coach Thomas Frank was told during a press conference that four more positive cases had been diagnosed on his team – bringing the total to 13.
lack of transparency
It should come as no surprise that he was one of the coaches to call for the competition to be halted in recent days. “The weekend matches and the cup matches next week should be cancelled,” Frank said.
“The number of positive cases all around. We have to close our training centers for a few days so that we can put out the fire. To ensure matches continue on Boxing Day for sure.”
Everton manager Rafael Benitez cited an example. Especially now that records are being set every day in the UK, but there are still fans in the stadiums. The Spaniard stressed that “people’s health should be the priority.”
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe also called for an emergency stop: “You can’t let half pass and the other can’t. That’s how you get a stumbled competition.”
There must be transparency. Because this jeopardizes the integrity of the competition.
The problem, however, is that the Premier League has failed to enforce clear rules on Corona in recent months. Each file is handled separately.
For example, it is possible that a club with 6 positive cases – distributed over all positions – will not get a deferment, but an opponent with only 3 pieces – all goalkeepers – will get a deferment.
Ugly to the eye for some coaches. “There has to be transparency,” said Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta. “Because this jeopardizes the integrity of the competition.”
“During our opening match, we had every reason not to play (Arsenal had four positive cases at the time), but we had to.”
Many reject the vaccine
An added difficulty is the congestion of the football calendar in England. All postponed matches have to be fabricated, but the number of ‘free dates’ is very limited due to the European Cup and Football Leagues.
Thus, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who is always critical of the busy calendar, does not endorse him.
“If anyone can promise me that the virus will go away if we take a break, I will be the first to go home and wait for it. But maybe that’s not the case, why stop? It just shows that the football calendar is very narrow.”
The number of unvaccinated people is very high.
His Chelsea colleague, Thomas Tuchel, also does not want to know about the general cancellation despite four positive cases. “Have we considered asking for an extension? No, not a second. I just prepare my team as best I can and focus on players who can play.”
Finally, Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl had his say as well. “The number of unvaccinated people is very high,” he said.
Research conducted by the English Football League (the three series under the highest score) showed that 25% of players did not want a shot.
The latest Premier League numbers, which date back to October, already showed that 68% had barely been vaccinated twice in that time. 81% got one shot.
Will the Premier League soon pay the bill for the remaining 19%?
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