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Leicester v Spurs off due to Covid as Brentford call for weekend shutdown | Premier League


Leicester’s game at home to Tottenham on Thursday has become the latest to be postponed because of Covid, after an increase in positive cases at the Midlands club. It is the fourth Premier League match called off in a week and comes on a day when Brentford’s manager, Thomas Frank, said no top-flight fixtures should take place this weekend.

The league had rejected approaches from Leicester and Tottenham for their match to be called off but has now accepted it cannot go ahead. The Leicester manager, Brendan Rodgers, and his Spurs counterpart, Antonio Conte, complained at the earlier decision to make their teams play – although in Tottenham’s case they had wanted to rearrange their Europa Conference League tie against Rennes for Thursday night.

Spurs were told of the postponement at about midday. There was an eagerness to make the decision early in the day to avoid a repeat of Wednesday’s situation when Burnley’s game at home to Watford was called off at a point when visiting fans had arrived in Burnley or were on their way.

Conte and his squad were already in the east Midlands but there is understanding on their part that these are factors beyond anyone’s control. Leicester are due to play at Everton on Sunday.

Leicester said: “The club resubmitted its application for postponement after confirmation this morning (Thursday) of further positive tests for Covid-19 within the first-team squad. As a result, the club has an insufficient number of first-team players available to fulfil the match.”

Leicester have shut first-team operations at their training ground for 48 hours for what they described as “a circuit breaker to help reduce the risk of further infection” and said another round of testing would take place on Saturday.

Spurs have already had one Premier League game – against Brighton – postponed because of Covid. Frank saw Brentford’s match against Manchester United on Tuesday called off as the country deals with the Omicron variant, and Burnley’s game was the third Premier League fixture to be postponed.

A number of Chelsea players are understood to have tested positive for Covid since Wednesday but the club, already without Mateo Kovacic because of the virus, are pressing ahead with Thursday night’s game at home to Everton. Kovacic is due to resume training on Friday but is unlikely to be able to start against Wolves on Sunday.

Brentford have Covid cases of their own to deal with as they prepare for Saturday’s trip to Southampton and a Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea on Wednesday.

“We think we should postpone the full round of Premier League games this weekend,” Frank said. “Covid cases are going through the roof at all Premier League clubs; everyone is dealing with it and having problems.

“To postpone this round and also the Carabao Cup round [next Tuesday and Wednesday] would give everyone a week at least, or four or five days to clean and do everything at the training ground so everything is clean and you break the chain.”

Frank was informed midway through his Thursday morning press conference of four more Covid cases overnight at Brentford – bringing the total involving players and staff at the club to 13.

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Football

Premier League: Wednesday’s game between Burnley and Watford at Turf Moor has been called off due to an outbreak in the visitors’ squad. 

Leicester v Spurs was initially set to go ahead on Thursday despite both clubs calling for a postponement – it was eventually called off early on Thursday afternoon.

Championship: Two of Saturday’s fixtures – Millwall v Preston and Reading v Luton – have been postponed.

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Saracens have forfeited their Challenge Cup game against Pau and closed their training ground due to a significant Covid outbreak.

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“We fully respect that we want to play and it is important football keeps going, and this way we can make sure Boxing Day keeps going, I’m 100% sure of that,” he said. “This Omicron variant is running like wildfire around the world and I think we need to do all we can to protect and avoid it. I think we can do a lot by closing down training grounds for three, four or five days, and then we can go again.”

Sheffield Wednesday’s League One game against Accrington on Saturday has been postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak at the Yorkshire club.



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