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Premier League meeting finalized to continue matches amid rising covid cases

Premier League clubs conducted a meeting on Monday to discuss if they should continue matches amid coronavirus outbreak. The Premier League said Monday’s meeting discussed “a number of issues”, including the adoption of the COVID-19 deferral process. Saturday’s match between Aston Villa and Burnley was canceled with two hours notice.

“The health and well-being of all those involved is our priority, and the League will continue to monitor and reflect public health guidelines, always proceeding with caution,” the Premier League said.

Last week, Premier League recorded 42 positive cases for Covid-19 in a span of seven days, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. Updated figures for the most recent seven-day period are expected on Monday. In Sunday’s Premier League football matches, Chelsea made just six substitutes for their Wolves draw, and Liverpool drew with Tottenham without a first-team name.

Five of Saturday’s six matches have been canceled. Chelsea tried to postpone Sunday’s game at Wolves, and boss Thomas Tuchel said their players had been exposed to “an enormous risk … not only because of Covid but also because of their physical condition”. Liverpool are understood to have been among a group of clubs that attempted to postpone the 20th week of matches.

Following Sunday’s draw at Spurs, Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said games on 26 and 28 December were not possible. “It’s impossible, we don’t have players,” Klopp said. “We have to think that we will get one or two additional cases. We can’t end it. 26th and 28th, it is not possible. We would love to play, but we need help with the matches.”

EFL Executive Director Trevor Birch said: “We will continue to work with clubs, officials and other agencies to monitor the rate of Covid-19 cases and be prepared to respond accordingly, however, it appears that we can do. Continue to offer safe sports where clubs have sufficiently healthy staff on and off the field.

“With the club’s mitigation measures, the mass adoption of booster jabs and the need for Covid certification for larger crowds now, we are confident that many fans will continue to feel confident in their Christmas matches and look forward to wishing them all the best.”

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