Premier League stand firm on extra Covid testing despite outbreak at Newcastle threatening to disrupt more fixtures
- The Premier League have decided not change their Covid-19 testing programme
- Extra testing will remain at the expense and discretion of the individual clubs
- Players at all top clubs were being tested twice weekly during Project Restart
- The Premier League then dropped that mandatory requirement to once a week
The Premier League will not change their Covid-19 testing programme despite the mass outbreak at Newcastle United threatening to disrupt more fixtures – and extra testing will remain at the expense and discretion of individual clubs.
Crystal Palace refused to confirm if they had returned positive cases after playing the Magpies last weekend and said manager Roy Hodgson would address the matter at his press conference on Friday.
Players and staff at all top-flight clubs were being tested twice weekly during Project Restart but, given the extremely low number of positives towards the end of the summer, the Premier League dropped that mandatory requirement to once a week entering this season.
The Premier League will not change their Covid-19 testing programme despite the mass outbreak at Newcastle United threatening to disrupt more fixtures
The League covers the cost of those tests but several clubs – especially teams competing in Europe – have chosen to fund an additional round of testing.
Newcastle, though, were among those who stuck with the League’s minimum requirement, and that was a concern for several senior staff inside the club.
They have now had at least 10 positive cases in the last fortnight and eight players have been infected by the virus in the past week alone.
That spread has caused the postponement of tonight’s game at Aston Villa and has left next Saturday’s visit of West Brom in serious doubt.
Extra testing (stock photo) will remain at the expense and discretion of the individual clubs
Crystal Palace refused to confirm if they had returned positive cases after playing the Magpies
However, the Premier League say they will stick to the current protocol of paying for each club to be tested once a week.
The concern among medical staff is that it allows seven days for individuals to become infected and spread the virus without knowing, given the majority of footballers have proven to be asymptomatic when contracting Covid-19.
This, in particular, was a major problem for Newcastle last weekend when they travelled to Palace with several infected players who had tested negative earlier in the week and were not showing any symptoms.
Newcastle’s training ground will remain shut until Monday at the earliest and they are continuing to liaise with the Premier League and Public Health England to determine the cause of the outbreak.