REVEALED: Crystal Palace’s attempts to postpone Spurs game came after late flurry of positive Covid tests on Christmas Day but the Premier League were unsatisfied with Eagles’ grounds to call for the tie to be scrapped
- A late flurry of positive Covid cases saw Palace attempt to postpone their game
- The Eagles saw a request for their trip to Spurs rejected by the Premier League
- Three positive PCR tests were returned at 7pm UK time on Christmas Day
- However, top flight officials were unsatisfied with Palace’s grounds for request
The Premier League threw out Crystal Palace’s attempts to postpone their clash against Tottenham despite Patrick Vieira’s side received a fresh batch of positive tests late on Christmas Day.
Both clubs were forced to issue statements on Boxing Day morning to clarify the Premier League was going ahead following reports the match had been postponed.
And Sportsmail can outline the sequence of events that led to top-flight officials deciding that the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium should go ahead – a ruling that has angered Palace staff.
Having already been affected by a spate of positive tests within the first-team set-up, Eagles chiefs had already alerted the Premier League of the ongoing situation at the club’s training ground ahead of the fixture against Antonio Conte’s side.
Palace then received their latest set of PCR results at around 7pm on Christmas Day where a minimum of three members of staff – including head coach Patrick Vieira and at least one player – had tested positive.
A late flurry of positive Covid tests saw Palace attempt to postpone their game at Spurs
The club immediately informed the Premier League of the new positive results asking top-flight executives for guidance on whether they had grounds to request a postponement.
Palace had at least 14 players available meaning they could not request to cancel the match due to a lack of available players.
However, the fact Vieira had come into contact with players in training sessions leading up to the game against was an obvious concern.
Similarly, there were concerns at the potential risk to any unvaccinated players, particularly given the concerns attached to delayed positive tests given Vieira’s result had only come through on Christmas Day evening.
The Premier League tie on Boxing Day was in doubt amid reports late on Christmas Day
Sportsmail understands that the Eagles had three positive PCR tests at 7pm on Christmas Day
However, the Premier League ruled, very strenuously according to sources, that the game should go ahead as planned.
The League were said to be unsatisfied by the conditions of Palace’s attempts to call off the game, with the lateness of the communication said to be a prevalent issue.
In contrast, Palace, who were said to be entirely transparent throughout the process, are said to be disappointed with the way the situation has played out but now want to draw a line under the episode.
Speaking ahead of kick-off Osian Roberts, head coach Vieira’s No 2, said: ‘ ‘It’s been challenging, but Patrick is okay. I spoke to him at length many times this morning, of course, as we’ve been preparing for the game. Now we’re here, and we’re getting on with it.
However, top-flight officials were unsatisfied with the Eagles’ grounds for the game to be postponed
‘There’s a combination of injuries, Covid and some returning from Covid and not ready to be able to participate in this game. We’ve been preparing all week. The game plan is the same, we’ve all been together. I’m not aware of exactly what’s going on in terms of the communication.
‘We’ve been working diligently to make sure we’re prepared for this game. It’s an important part of the season, and it’s an important week for us. We’ve been focusing on that. We’re here and looking to perform. We very rarely make a decision on selection before the day of a game.
‘We have to take many things into consideration. As a consequence, the decision would have been made today on selection anyway. We leave things as late as we can because anything can happen, especially during this period. We’re professional, we’re here to play the game and it’s a very important game for us.’