Burnley's home game against Watford on Wednesday night has been postponed due to a Covid outbreak among the visitors' squad; Watford had insufficient number of available first-team players; second fixture to be called off in Premier League this week after Brentford vs Man Utd on Tuesday
Thursday 16 December 2021 19:07, UK
Watford's Premier League fixture away to Burnley on Wednesday night has been postponed after a Covid outbreak among the visiting squad.
A statement from the Premier League said Watford would have been unable to fulfil the fixture due to an insufficient number of available first-team players.
The game is the second in the Premier League to be called off this week, following the postponement of Manchester United's visit to Brentford on Tuesday.
A statement from the Premier League on Wednesday evening read: "It is with regret the Premier League board has postponed Burnley's home fixture against Watford, due to be played this evening (Wednesday 15 December) at 7.30pm.
"The decision was taken following guidance from medical advisers due to an ongoing Covid-19 outbreak within Watford's squad. As a result, the club has an insufficient number of first-team players available to fulfil the match.
"The Premier League understands this decision will disappoint and frustrate fans who were due to attend this evening's game and apologises for the inconvenience and disruption caused at such short notice.
"In considering any application to postpone, the board considers a range of sporting and medical factors. Each decision is taken on a case-by-case basis with everyone's health of utmost importance.
"In light of the recent rise in Covid-19 cases across the country, the Premier League has reintroduced emergency measures. These include protocols such as more frequent testing, wearing face coverings while indoors, observing social distancing and limiting treatment time."
The decision comes on the same day Brendan Rodgers criticised the Premier League for refusing to postpone Leicester's game against Tottenham on Thursday.
Rodgers said Leicester will be without nine players due to a combination of coronavirus cases and injuries for the visit of Spurs, who are returning to action after missing their last two games due to a Covid outbreak of their own.
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has also revealed that Spurs asked the Premier League to postpone the game, so that they would be able to play their Europa Conference League game with Rennes that was postponed last week.
Asked whether the club had sought a postponement, Rodgers said: "Yes, we've looked at that. Unfortunately for us we weren't granted any dispensation, which is obviously disappointing.
"We're a team and a club that have always wanted to support all the measures and everything else, but maybe when you need a little bit of support with the extreme situation that we're in, we weren't able to get that which was disappointing."
On Monday, the Premier League announced 42 new positive coronavirus cases among club players and staff - the highest weekly figure recorded since the release of testing results began in May last year.
Tottenham vs Rennes - Thursday December 9 - Europa Conference League
Brighton vs Tottenham - Sunday December 12 - Premier League
Sheffield Utd vs QPR - Monday December 13 - Championship
Brentford vs Man Utd - Tuesday December 14 - Premier League
Burnley vs Watford - Wednesday December 15 - Premier League
Man City Women vs Leicester City Women - Wednesday December 15 - League Cup
QPR vs Swansea - Saturday December 18 - Championship
Reading vs Luton - Saturday December 18 - Championship
Millwall vs Preston - Saturday December 18 - Championship
The 2021/22 Premier League handbook includes Covid protocols and states the Premier League's board will "only permit the rearrangement or postponement of a league match in exceptional circumstances".
The board make calls on a case-by-case basis, and by way of guidance the Premier League says permission for a postponement will not be granted if a club have 14 or more players from their squad list available.
Sky Sports News understands the Premier League turned down further requests from clubs for games to be postponed due to Covid cases during the week commencing December 13.
Spectators will be required to show proof of double vaccination against Covid-19 or a negative lateral flow test to attend sporting events with crowds of more than 10,000 people after MPs approved government plans.
The proposals were part of the government's 'plan B' to tackle the rise in Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant, and were voted into force in the House of Commons on Tuesday evening by a majority of 243.
Sky Sports News understands Premier League clubs - whose average attendances all exceed 10,000 - have been preparing for this eventuality.