Fulham’s Premier League match at Burnley on Sunday has been postponed because of further positive coronavirus cases at the west London club.
It is the second match involving Fulham to be postponed this week, after Wednesday’s game at Tottenham was called off just hours before kick-off.
The Premier League made the decision to postpone the match against Spurs after Fulham requested for it to be rearranged following “a significant rise in positive Covid-19 cases” at the club.
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Sunday’s match at Turf Moor has also now been postponed and becomes the fourth Premier League fixture to be called off because of coronavirus this season.
“Following further new positive results returned from the most recent Covid-19 tests, the Club can confirm that this Sunday’s away fixture at Burnley has been postponed after discussions with the Premier League and advice from medical teams,” read a statement released by Fulham.
“Those who tested positive are self-isolating in line with UK Government and Premier League guidance.
“The welfare of our players, staff and their families continue to be of paramount importance, and we wish those who have tested positive a safe and speedy recovery.”
The Premier League has not discussed the possibility of a circuit break for the season despite the growing number of postponed matches and says it will look to reschedule Fulham’s games “as soon as possible”.
“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the League continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols, fully backed by the Government, to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled,” read a statement.
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“The League wishes those with COVID-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange Fulham’s two postponed games as soon as possible.”
Fulham manager Scott Parker admitted earlier this week that was unsure if the match against Burnley would go ahead.
Parker also said he understood Jose Mourinho’s frustrations over the decision to postpone the match against Tottenham, after the Spurs head coach labelled the situation “unprofessional”.
“We were in exactly the same position as Tottenham were in. We were in a hotel, we didn’t know until late on as well,” said Parker, who was due to return to the dugout against Burnley after a period in self-isolation.
“We were sitting 20 minutes away from the stadium, obviously ready to have pre-match and waiting around in the hotel, so it was late for my side as well.
“The places where that information went to on Tuesday… that information did not change until Wednesday.
“There was no new information come Wednesday so the information was there on Tuesday but for one reason or another it didn’t get postponed or called off until the time it was.
“I was in exactly the same position and I understand Jose’s frustration.”
What is the criteria for a postponement?
Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:
The Premier League Board ultimately decides whether matches can or cannot be postponed. While there aren’t hard and fast rules – each game is judged on a case-by-case basis – there are some guidelines.
For instance, in the 2020/21 Premier League handbook, clubs have been told “permission will not be granted to postpone a league match where the applicant club has 14 or more players listed on its squad list available.”
Teams were permitted earlier this season to name 25 players in their Premier League squad list – and that doesn’t include registered U21 players.
Man City, for example, according to the Premier League website, named 20 players in their Premier League squad list. They currently have Ilkay Gundogan and Eric Garcia injured, with Walker and Jesus positive with coronavirus. That takes their Premier League squad list down to 16 – but doesn’t account for any subsequent positive cases they may have found out about on Monday.
However, City may not even have had to drop below that 14-player level for their match with Everton to be postponed. The Premier League Board have said they took medical advice into consideration when deciding to call off that fixture, and there may have been other factors affecting their decision.
However, what we do know is that the Premier League Board only rearrange games in “exceptional circumstances”.
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