The Premier League has informed clubs that they will be expected to field experienced U21 players even if COVID-19 has ripped through their senior players.
This comes from The Telegraph’s chief football correspondent, Jason Burt, with it being noted that English top-flight outfits will be unable to postpone games only unless less than 14 or more players are available for the clash in question.
There are further exceptions, of course, with medical evidence proving the existence of an ‘uncontrollable outbreak’ also set to be taken into account in any decision-making.
In a similar vein to the officiating decisions that have taken place of late, the league’s advice on postponement appears likely to continue to confuse and be interpreted inconsistently.
Whilst we can certainly understand the challenges of rearranging the football schedule ahead of a major year for international football (both AFCON and the World Cup in Qatar are set to take place at opposite ends of 2022), it’s getting increasingly difficult to justify not opting for a circuit breaker.
With cases gradually spiralling out of control, a week or two-week break would allow clubs to get on top of vaccinations and boosters (if required), further reducing the risk of spread whilst also allowing time for players with positive tests to recover and return to availability.