Thomas Tuchel says he would be “very angry” if Premier League clubs were found to be abusing the rules to have games canceled as Leicester’s trip to Burnley became the latest match to be postponed.
The game at Turf Moor – which was due to take place on Saturday – was canceled on Friday due to Covid cases and injuries to Sean Dyche’s Clarets side.
It is Burnley’s fourth game this season to be postponed due to Covid-19 but the first time the request has come from the Turf Moor club. Relegation-threatened Clarets also had another game, against Tottenham, postponed at short notice due to heavy snowfall.
But Chelsea boss Tuchel – who hit the Premier League in December after refusing to accede to Chelsea’s request to postpone their game against Wolves following a number of Covid cases – complained. asked whether the rules were applied consistently.
“I strongly, strongly hope that’s not the case, otherwise I would be very angry,” Tuchel said when asked if he felt the Covid rules were being abused.
“We do everything to make the games happen and we were forced to play when we thought maybe we shouldn’t. So I can only strongly hope that the rules are the same for everyone. “
Chelsea have reported a positive Covid-19 test ahead of their trip to Manchester City for Saturday’s 12.30pm Premier League kick-off, with Andreas Christensen now in isolation.
The Danish defender had only recently returned from an injury spell. Both Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante are in contention to be involved, however, albeit with very little training time under their belts.
“We have a positive Covid test, with Andreas Christensen,” Tuchel said. “He will therefore be absent for this match.
“To have the news that Andreas Christensen is out again after we’ve waited so long for him, and now he’s playing so, so hard, and yet again he’s out. It’s a bit of a setback for everyone. world, for us mentally.
“We have Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante back, but it’s Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante with a training session.
“You finally have returning players, and it’s like catching fish.”
The Premier League confirmed they had upheld Burnley’s request to postpone their game on Friday, with a statement reading: “The Premier League board have accepted Burnley’s request as the club do not have the number number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and a goalkeeper), due to Covid-19 cases and injuries.”
Burnley saw three consecutive matches – against Watford, Aston Villa and Everton – postponed last month due to Covid-19 cases in the opposition camps.
The rearranged game against Watford is set to take place on Tuesday, although that must now be in doubt.
Burnley were without seven players due to Covid-19 in last weekend’s 2-1 FA Cup loss to Huddersfield, a match which was also missed by Dyche, and has since seen Chris Wood join Newcastle.
Earlier this week, Leicester’s game at Everton was postponed for the second time, with the Premier League saying it had accepted the Foxes’ bid “as the club do not have the required number of players available for the game (13 players from field and a goalkeeper) due to Covid-19 cases, injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.”
Arteta reiterates its call for clarity
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has reiterated his call for clarity on the decision-making behind the coronavirus postponements and urged authorities to protect the integrity of the Premier League.
“The authorities have to deal with it, they make the rules. We don’t get enough information about the reasons behind it,” Arteta said.
“Over a month ago I asked for clarity, there was always a possibility when things opened up how people were going to use it.
“[I would like more clarity] on why we are postponing matches, why some, and why not others, to preserve the integrity of the competition.
“It happens in many different leagues, we have to focus on what we can do to try to maintain the level of admiration for the Premier League, we have to protect that.”
The Arsenal manager has also indicated that the Gunners could request the postponement of the North London derby on Sunday.
“We have communications every game about the situation around the game for both teams. I always mention that we are ready to play. Once we have a fair assessment of the team and where we are, the Premier League will make the decision. But on our side, we still want to try to play.”
Hasenhuttl: PL ‘opened door’ to bending Covid rules
At his press conference on Friday, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl insisted on the lack of transparency around the postponements and how the Premier League is handling it.
He said: “They’ve opened the door, and you can’t be surprised someone is coming through now. I can’t say anything about the Covid situation there because that’s normally the reason you cancel the matches.
“You have no view, no transparency, and you can’t say anything about it. The rest is just speculation.
“The Premier League has to deal with this. That’s why I’m saying players/new signings shouldn’t be allowed to play in canceled games when they haven’t been there before that game is scheduled. C It’s a problem they have and it’s hard to fix it at the moment.”
Which Premier League matches have been cancelled?
Brighton v Tottenham – Sunday, December 12
Brentford v Manchester United – Tuesday, December 14 (now January 19, 8 p.m.)
Burnley v Watford – Wednesday, December 15 (now January 18, 7:30 p.m.)
Leicester v Tottenham – Thursday, December 16 (now January 19, 7:30 p.m.)
Manchester United v Brighton – Saturday, December 18
Southampton v Brentford – Saturday 18 December; Southampton won the rearranged game 4-1 on Tuesday January 11
Watford v Crystal Palace – Saturday, December 18
West Ham v Norwich – Saturday, December 18; West Ham won the rearranged match 2-0 on Wednesday January 12
Aston Villa v Burnley – Saturday, December 18
Everton v Leicester – Sunday December 19 and Tuesday January 11
Liverpool v Leeds – Sunday, December 26
Wolves v Watford – Sunday, December 26
Burnley v Everton – Sunday, December 26
Leeds v Aston Villa – Tuesday, December 28
Arsenal vs Wolves – Tuesday, December 28
Everton v Newcastle – Thursday, December 30
Leicester v Norwich – Saturday January 1
Southampton v Newcastle – Sunday January 2
Everton v Leicester – Tuesday January 11 (as above, this game had already been previously postponed from its original date of Sunday December 19)
Burnley v Leicester – Saturday January 15
What are the Premier League rules regarding postponements?
The 2021/22 Premier League handbook included Covid protocols and said the Premier League board “will only authorize the rearrangement or postponement of a League game in exceptional circumstances”.
The board makes appeals on a case-by-case basis and, as an indication, the Premier League advises that postponement permission will not be granted if a club has 14 or more players on its squad list.
However, after a number of matches were postponed in the weeks leading up to Christmas, a new Premier League guide explaining match postponement protocols has been released.
And there, these factors are taken into account to decide whether or not to postpone a top-flight match:
1) The impact of COVID-19 infections on a club’s squad, as well as injuries, illnesses and people in isolation, and the number of players available on the squad roster and all players from under 21 with relevant experience. When a club cannot field 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper from its squad list or from its sufficiently experienced under-21 players, the match will be postponed.
2) The status of any COVID-19 outbreak within a club, including the number of people affected, the sequence and source of infections and their proximity to the match in question.
3) A club’s ability to prepare its players safely before a match.
4) A medical opinion indicating whether there is an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match.
5) Any advice from the UK Health Safety Agency and other public bodies.
6) Any other exceptional circumstances.