Premier League Postpones 5 Weekend Matches Due to COVID-19 Outbreaks

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 16, 2021

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: A detailed view of the blue and white Nike Flight Premier League ball prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on February 21, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The Premier League announced Thursday it has postponed five weekend matches amid COVID-19 outbreaks.

Premier League @premierleague

Manchester United’s fixture against Brighton &amp; Hove Albion this weekend has been postponed by the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PL</a> Board today <br><br>It is the League’s intention to continue its current fixture schedule where safely possible <br><br>Full statement: <a href="https://t.co/47IkXOXx8T">https://t.co/47IkXOXx8T</a> <a href="https://t.co/C9MDuiYaHU">pic.twitter.com/C9MDuiYaHU</a>

Premier League @premierleague

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PL</a> Board has postponed a further four matches due to be played this weekend because of an increase in positive COVID-19 cases<br><br>Full details: <a href="https://t.co/9rUcsajUAj">https://t.co/9rUcsajUAj</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SOUBRE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SOUBRE</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WATCRY?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WATCRY</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WHUNOR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WHUNOR</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EVELEI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EVELEI</a> <a href="https://t.co/NeoGSHSF6t">pic.twitter.com/NeoGSHSF6t</a>

Saturday's affected matches are Manchester United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton vs. Brentford, Watford vs. Crystal Palace and West Ham United vs. Norwich City, while Sunday's match between Everton and Leicester City was also postponed.

Manchester United, Brentford, Watford, Norwich City and Leicester City all don't have a sufficient number of players available because of COVID-19 protocols. All except for Norwich have closed their training grounds.

The recent changes come after Manchester United's game against Brighton on Saturday was already postponed, along with Leicester City's match Thursday against Tottenham.

The Premier League announced on Wednesday that they are changing protocols as a result of the increase in positive tests around the league, which include 42 players over the past week. The changes include a requirement for fans to show proof of vaccination and a negative test in order to enter matches.

There will also be COVID-19 symptom status checks while fans will be urged not to travel if they have symptoms.

The postponements could lead to scheduling issues as the season progresses, especially with some clubs falling behind on matches. Tottenham have completed just 14 league matches, three fewer than some others in the EPL.