Brentford manager Thomas Frank called for the upcoming round of Premier League fixtures to be postponed today to allow clubs to deal with worsening coronavirus outbreaks.
As he spoke in the morning, several matches in the league had been already called off within a week of each other, including Covid-hit Manchester United’s midweek visit to the Bees, Brighton v Tottenham, and Burnley v Watford.
By the afternoon, Leicester v Tottenham had also been postponed – a matter of hours before the scheduled 7.30pm kick-off last night – before the visit of Brighton to Man United, scheduled as tomorrow’s early kick-off, was also axed.
Brentford have their own Covid issues to deal with before tomorrow’s trip to Southampton – star striker Ivan Toney has missed several games with an infection – and Frank said he 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.
“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 [League 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-19 cases midway through his press conference, bringing the club’s total, players and staff, to 13.
He believed that a decision to halt this weekend’s round of top-flight fixtures may be enough to ensure that the busy festive programme can 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,” said Frank.
As it announced the postponement of Man United’s fixture tomorrow, the Premier League said it recognised that clubs were facing outbreaks but that “it is the league’s intention to continue its current fixture schedule where safely possible.
“The health and well-being of all concerned remains our priority.”