Premier League games postponed because of Covid: When could fixtures be played?

An increased number of Premier League fixtures are being postponed due to Covid, but when can matches be played? And will there be a 'circuit-breaker' style suspension of matches?

Covid-19 spot checks take place outside the Etihad Stadium prior to Man City's match against Leeds United
Image: Covid-19 is disrupting the Premier League schedule

A growing number of Premier League games have been postponed because of Covid outbreaks. Fixtures that need to be rearranged are starting to stack up - but when could they be played? 

There currently appears to be 15 midweek slots where postponed games could be played in 2022 - however, these often clash with Champions League and Europa League knockout rounds, as well as FA Cup and Carabao Cup ties.

There are some options. Could the Premier League's two-week winter break at the end of January and start of February be scrapped? Or will teams be asked to play beyond the scheduled final weekend of the season, May 22?

Either way, busy months are ahead. We take a look at the calendar...

Where is there room in the calendar for postponed games?

The midweek of week commencing January 3

For Premier League teams not playing in Carabao Cup semi-final first legs, this would be an opportunity to play a rearranged fixture.

The Carabao Cup semi-finals see Chelsea face Tottenham and Arsenal face Liverpool over two legs.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says that dealing with positive Covid cases is like a lottery as you don't know who will be available each day.

The midweek of w/c January 10

For Premier League teams not playing in Carabao Cup semi-final second legs - every club other than Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool - this would be an opportunity to play a rearranged fixture.

However, some teams will be without players involved in the Africa Cup of Nations, which is due to start on January 9.

The midweek of w/c January 17

This would be an opportunity to play a rearranged fixture. However, the Africa Cup of Nations will still be ongoing, so some teams will still be without certain players.

The midweek of w/c January 24 and the midweek of w/c January 31 - if winter break is scrapped

The Premier League winter break is scheduled to run from January 24 to February 7. Could this be scrapped to make room on the schedule for postponed Premier League games?

However, during this fortnight, some Premier League players will be involved in rearranged World Cup qualifiers in Asia, South America, North America and Oceania.

The Africa Cup of Nations will still be ongoing, so some teams will still be without certain players.

The FA Cup fourth-round weekend - February 5/6 - would be an opportunity for Premier League sides knocked out of the competition to play, too. Replays for both the FA Cup third and fourth rounds have been scrapped.

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Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira says he is worried by the impact of Covid-19 outbreaks on player welfare rather than the demands of the festive fixture schedule.

The midweek of w/c February 14

Champions League last-16 ties will be taking place during this midweek, but this would be an opportunity for Premier League teams not involved to play a rearranged fixture.

Rules preventing Premier League games from taking place at the same time as Champions League matches ended in 2017.

The midweek of w/c February 21

Champions League last-16 ties will be taking place during this midweek, but this would be an opportunity for Premier League teams not involved to play a rearranged fixture.

The midweek of w/c February 28

For Premier League teams not playing in the FA Cup fifth round, this would be an opportunity to play a rearranged fixture.

The midweek of w/c March 7

Champions League and Europa League last-16 ties will be taking place during this midweek, but this would be an opportunity for Premier League teams not involved to play a rearranged fixture.

The midweek of w/c 14 March

Champions League and Europa League last-16 ties will be taking place during this midweek, but this would be an opportunity for Premier League teams not involved to play a rearranged fixture.

March international break

The March international break runs from March 21 through to the Premier League's return on April 2.

There is unlikely to be any chance of this break being scrapped, as it not only involves international friendlies but also World Cup play-offs for European nations, with the semi-finals of those play-offs on Thursday March 24, and the finals on Tuesday March 29.

The midweek of w/c April 4

Champions League and Europa League quarter-final ties will be taking place during this midweek, but this would be an opportunity for Premier League teams not involved to play a rearranged fixture.

The midweek of w/c April 11

Champions League and Europa League quarter-final ties will be taking place during this midweek, but this would be an opportunity for Premier League teams not involved to play a rearranged fixture.

The midweek of w/c 18 April

This would be an opportunity to play a rearranged fixture.

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Speaking ahead of managers meeting with the Premier League, Brentford head coach Thomas Frank says he believes it is right for the competition to carry on but calls for transparency around Covid-19 cases.

The midweek of w/c April 25

Champions League and Europa League semi-final ties will be taking place during this midweek, but this would be an opportunity for Premier League teams not involved to play a rearranged fixture.

The midweek of w/c May 2

Champions League and Europa League semi-final ties will be taking place during this midweek, but this would be an opportunity for Premier League teams not involved to play a rearranged fixture.

The midweek of w/c May 9

This would be an opportunity to play a rearranged fixture.

The midweek of w/c May 16

The Europa League final takes place on May 18, but this would be an opportunity to play a rearranged fixture for any Premier League team not involved.

Going beyond May 22, the Premier League's scheduled final weekend...

The midweek of w/c May 23

If the Premier League were to be extended beyond its scheduled final day of May 22, games could be played in the following week by teams not involved in the Europa Conference League final on May 25.

The Champions League final is on Saturday May 28.

Into the summer?

There is a 10-week break in club football from the Champions League final on May 28 and the start of the 2022/23 Premier League season on August 6, which could allow the campaign to stretch into the summer.

However, the next round of the Nations League gets underway on June 2, with four competitive international games taking place through to June 14. England boss Gareth Southgate has described the matches as "ideal preparation" for the World Cup and, like most international managers involved in those tournaments, he would be loathe to be without his key players.

With next summer already leading into a disrupted 2022/23 campaign because of the winter World Cup, the room for manoeuvre is extremely limited.

Covid cancellations: Which PL games are off?

Brighton vs Tottenham - Sunday December 12, Premier League

Brentford vs Man Utd - Tuesday December 14, Premier League

Burnley vs Watford - Wednesday December 15, Premier League

Leicester vs Tottenham - Thursday December 16, Premier League

Man Utd vs Brighton - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Southampton vs Brentford - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Watford vs Crystal Palace - Saturday December 18, Premier League

West Ham vs Norwich - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Aston Villa vs Burnley - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Everton vs Leicester - Sunday December 19, Premier League

Liverpool vs Leeds - Sunday December 26, Premier League

Wolves vs Watford - Sunday December 26, Premier League

Burnley vs Everton - Sunday December 26, Premier League

Leeds vs Aston Villa - Tuesday December 28, Premier League

Arsenal vs Wolves - Tuesday December 28, Premier League

What are the Premier League rules around postponements?

The 2021/22 Premier League handbook includes Covid protocols, and states the Premier League 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.

In a statement, the Premier League added it would "assess a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the Covid-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match.

"The Board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club may come into contact with."

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