Everton had an initial request to postpone the game rejected on Thursday despite boss Rafael Benitez claiming he only had nine outfield players fit; Liverpool vs Leeds and Watford vs Wolves have already been called off
Sunday 26 December 2021 18:21, UK
Everton's Boxing Day match at Burnley has been postponed due to Covid-19 cases and injuries at the Merseyside club.
Everton had an initial request to postpone the game rejected on Thursday despite boss Rafael Benitez claiming he only had nine outfield players fit.
While there have not been further Covid-19 cases at Everton, there has been a number of players unable to train who were originally on the 'fit list'.
A statement from the Premier League on Friday said the board had reviewed the decision "following further injuries to their squad".
"They [the Premier League board] concluded that the club will not be able to fulfil their fixture this weekend as a result of an insufficient number of players available to play due to Covid-19 cases and injuries," the statement added.
"The board this morning was able to make its decision in advance of Boxing Day to give clarity to clubs and their fans. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to those supporters' festive plans."
Benitez said on Thursday he was "surprised" the game had been expected to go ahead, after two Boxing Day matches - Liverpool v Leeds and Wolves v Watford - were postponed due to Covid cases.
His squad endured a Covid outbreak following the game against Chelsea on December 16, while a number of top players including Richarlison and Andros Townsend are injured.
Benitez said: "With the injuries and the positives that we have, we were expecting that the game would be postponed.
"Like in a lot of other games [to be postponed] to try and keep the integrity of the league, because you are losing so many players."
The concerns of managers and captains were heard by the Premier League at special meetings on Thursday.
Managers and players raised fears about the number of games they have to play in quick succession during the Christmas holiday period because of the demands it is putting on squads which have been reduced in size as a result of Covid-19.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola raised the possibility of players going on strike over welfare issues, while Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte labelled the meetings "a waste of time".
Following calls from managers for transparency over why some matches have been called off and some have not, the Premier League has since published guidance to explain its protocols for postponing fixtures.
Clubs have been told they must provide the following information when applying for a game to be postponed:
The Premier League will then consider the following factors when deciding whether to grant the request: