Newcastle have second game called off in a week as Covid cases and injuries continue to disrupt Eddie Howe's squad; their match away at Everton on Thursday was also postponed
Saturday 1 January 2022 07:03, UK
Southampton have contacted the Premier League to outline their frustrations at the late postponement of their match against Newcastle.
On Friday afternoon the Premier League confirmed it had accepted Newcastle's request to postpone Sunday's fixture "as the club do not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper)".
It is Newcastle's second fixture in a row to be called off after Thursday's trip to Everton was also postponed due to the number of Covid-19 cases and injuries in Eddie Howe's squad.
On Monday, Newcastle were only able to name eight substitutes, including two goalkeepers, instead of the maximum nine for their 1-1 draw against Manchester United, with the squad depleted due to injuries and Covid-19 cases.
They also lost Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser to injury against United.
But Southampton are unhappy with the current lack of transparency around why games are called off and want full transparency in knowing which players are injured and how many of the squad have Covid-19.
The Premier League insisted it "aims to provide as much clarity as possible but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is our priority".
The 2021/22 Premier League handbook included Covid protocols and stated that 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.
However, after the postponement of a number of games in the weeks leading up to Christmas, a new Premier League guide explaining match postponement protocols was published.
And there, these factors are considered when deciding whether to postpone a top-flight game:
1) The impact of COVID-19 infections on a club's squad, as well as injuries, illness and those isolating, and the number of players available on the squad list and any Under-21 players with appropriate experience. Where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players, the match will be postponed.
2) The status of any COVID-19 outbreak within a club, including the number of individuals affected, the sequence and source of infections and their proximity to the match in question.
3) A club's ability to safely prepare its players in the lead-up to a match.
4) Medical advice as to whether there is any unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match.
5) Any advice from UK Health Security Agency and other public bodies.
6) Any other exceptional circumstances.
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