Two games postponed: Sunday’s ‘Boxing Day’, perhaps the most significant date in the Premier League, is in turn disturbed by the upsurge in covid-19 cases caused by the omicron variant in Great Britain.
It’s one of the most festive moments of the season in England: one day after Christmas, players and spectators come together to celebrate football in a colorful, Christmas-like atmosphere.
But the 2021 edition of ‘Boxing Day’ was amputated this Thursday from two games, one of them at the legendary Anfield between Liverpool and Leeds.
Despite the high vaccination rate, Leeds regretted the positive tests of five players, to which is added a long list of injured, which means that Marcelo Bielsa’s team does not reach 13 available players and a goalkeeper, limit marked by the Premier.
“We will not have enough first-team players to meet the demands of the Premier League,” lamented Leeds, who are ranked 16th in the table.
Watford, for their part, who had to go to Wolverhampton, were forced to cancel their trip after having had to postpone their two previous games, against Burnley and Crystal Palace.
These two postponements are added to the other ten in the last two weeks.
In total, 18 games were postponed between the first four categories of English football on this ‘Boxing Day’.
Following postponement requests from @LUFC and @WatfordFC as a result of COVID-19, the Premier League Board met this morning and regrettably agreed to call off the two affected clubs’ Boxing Day fixtures
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 23, 2021
Refused a stoppage of the tournament
Everton had also asked to postpone their match against Burnley, but their request was rejected despite 11 absences among the ‘Toffies’. “We have six injured and five players suffering from covid,” revealed the club’s coach Rafael Benítez. “I think it’s not fair,” he opined.
But Premier League clubs refused in a meeting earlier in the week to temporarily halt the competition.
This crisis occurs in a crucial period of the season in England, both sportingly and economically, in view of the high public attendance expected for the three dates scheduled between December 26 and January 3.
We can confirm our fixture with Leeds United at Anfield on December 26 has been postponed.
The Boxing Day encounter will be rescheduled after the Premier League ruled it was unable to go ahead following the number of positive COVID-19 cases within the Leeds squad.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 23, 2021
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his Tottenham counterpart Antonio Conte called for a reduction to one match in the Liverpool-Arsenal and Tottenham-Chelsea English League Cup semi-finals, scheduled for early January. , thus releasing the overloaded calendar.
Last year, the English League Cup semi-finals were reduced to a single match due to the pandemic.
The ‘Spurs’, seventh in the Premier League, have three games of delay linked to bad weather conditions and the coronavirus pandemic within the cash.
“It would be better to play one game rather than two, especially in the current context, but we respect the rules,” reacted Italian Tottenham coach Antonio Conte.
📰 In #LUFC We regret to confirm that our Boxing Day match with Liverpool has been postponed following new cases of COVID.
— Leeds United Español (@LUFCes) December 23, 2021
Measurements in Wales and Scotland
In the Premier League, 84% of players have already received at least one dose according to the statement released by the League at the beginning of the week. That rate rises to 92% if club staff are added.
In England, no restrictions have been put in place to reduce the reception capacity of the public, but fans must provide proof of vaccination or show a negative test performed within 48 hours.
The neighboring nations, Wales and Scotland, have established restrictive measures, aimed at fighting against the resurgence of cases. In Wales, sporting events will take place without public from the 26th, while in Scotland a capacity of 500 people has been established for outdoor competitions.