Leicester’s game with Tottenham has been postponed as coronavirus outbreaks rip through the football calendar once more, with Brentford boss Thomas Frank asking for this weekend’s games to be called off.
Thursday’s clash at the King Power Stadium is off after Covid-19 outbreaks within the home squad, with Tottenham’s last two matches having been off for Covid reasons.
The Premier League had previously resisted requests from the clubs to postpone the game but it will now be rescheduled.
A league statement read: “The Premier League Board has postponed Leicester City FC’s match against Tottenham Hotspur tonight due to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases within Leicester’s squad today,
“In light of the new information, Leicester applied this morning for the fixture to be called off due to an ongoing outbreak within the squad, which has resulted in more players and staff testing positive for COVID-19 today.
“This has left the club with an insufficient number of players available to fulfil the game. Following consultation with the Premier League and UK Health Security Agency, the club’s first team training ground was closed this morning to help contain the outbreak.”
Tottenham had already travelled to Leicestershire on Wednesday and found out about the postponement at 12pm on Thursday, the PA news agency understands.
Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers had already criticised the Premier League for a lack of support during the week.
“We have looked at it,” Rodgers said about getting the game postponed in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“But unfortunately for us we weren’t granted dispensation, which is disappointing because as a team and a club we have always wanted to support all the measures, but when we need a little support with the extreme situation we find ourselves in we weren’t able to get it.
“There was a big doubt for the game against Newcastle, but for the greater good of the game and for the supporters it went ahead. But since then we have picked up more injuries.
“They are not Covid-related injuries, but they are because players are picking up injuries because we can’t rotate the team and the squad because of the number of players we already have out.”
It is the latest game to be postponed after Watford’s trip to Burnley was called off just hours before kick off on Wednesday.
Tottenham’s league match with Brighton on Sunday went while Brentford’s trip to Manchester United on Tuesday was also off.
Last week Spurs had their Europa Conference League game with Rennes postponed and a number of EFL games planned for this weekend have already fallen.
The latest postponements come after Brentford manager Frank called for the upcoming round of Premier League fixtures to be postponed to allow clubs to deal with outbreaks.
Frank saw his side’s clash with United go under as the country deals with the Omicron variant.
Frank and the Bees have Covid issues of their own to deal with ahead of a Saturday trip to Southampton and the Dane would like to see a break in play to help manage the situation across the league.
“We think we should postpone the full round of Premier League games this weekend,” he said on Thursday morning.
“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 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 of four more Covid cases overnight – bringing the current total involving players and staff at the club to 13 – midway through his Thursday morning press conference.
And he believes a decision to halt this weekend’s round of top-flight fixtures could be enough to sure the busy festive programme will be able to go ahead largely as planned.
“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 per cent sure of that,” added Frank.
“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.”
Meanwhile, The Government is not telling football fans not to go to matches, Downing Street has said.
Following comments from the medical director for primary care at NHS England, Dr Nikki Kanani, that if anyone was visiting a football stadium this weekend it should be to get a jab at a pop-up clinic, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said there was “no guidance or restrictions in place”.