Everton’s game at Burnley off after Premier League agrees to new request | Premier League


Everton’s Boxing Day match at Burnley has been called off a day after Rafael Benítez said it should not go ahead because he had too few players and some were being put at risk.

The league’s board rejected an initial postponement request from Everton but accepted on Friday morning that the game could not take place because of the impact of Covid and injuries on Benítez’s squad.

It is the third match of the Premier League’s Boxing Day programme to be cancelled, after Liverpool v Leeds and Wolves v Watford.

The league said it had “regrettably approved” the postponement. “The board reviewed the club’s request today to postpone the match following further injuries to their squad,” it said. “They concluded that the club will not be able to fulfil their fixture this weekend as a result of an insufficient number of players available to play due to Covid-19 cases and injuries.”

Benítez said on Thursday that Everton had only nine outfield players available and would have to bring in five youngsters deemed by the league as having enough experience to play.

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Football fixtures hit by rising Covid-19 cases

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Premier League: 26 December Burnley v Everton, Liverpool v Leeds, Wolves v Watford

Championship: 26 December Barnsley v Stoke, Cardiff v Coventry, Fulham v Birmingham, Millwall v Swansea, Peterborough v Reading, Preston v Sheffield United

League One: 26 December Bolton v Morecambe, Crewe v Wigan, Portsmouth v Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday v Burton, Wimbledon v Charlton, Wycombe v Cambridge. 30 December Cambridge v Doncaster

League Two: 26 December Bradford v Harrogate, Bristol Rovers v Sutton, Colchester v Leyton Orient, Exeter v Swindon, Newport v Forest Green, Northampton v Walsall, Port Vale v Salford, Stevenage v Crawley. 29 December Forest Green v Exeter, Walsall v Bradford

National League: 26 December Barnet v Boreham Wood, Halifax v Grimsby, Wealdstone v Maidenhead, Weymouth v Eastleigh, Wrexham v Solihull Moors. 28 December Boreham Wood v Wealdstone, Grimsby v King’s Lynn, Yeovil v Weymouth.

Scottish Championship: 26 December Greenock Morton v Queen of the South, Inverness CT v Partick 29 December Raith Rovers v Queen of the South

Scottish League One: 26 December Queen’s Park v Dumbarton

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“The reality is some of these players include Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has been out injured for two months,” the manager said. “We have other players with knocks and we will have to push them. They are not fit and who will take responsibility if something happens to them because they have to play 90 minutes? We are exposing them … The reality is it is a risk for some of our players.”

Vieira hopes to play Spurs despite Covid cases

Patrick Vieira hopes Crystal Palace will be able to play Sunday’s fixture at Tottenham, despite “a couple of cases” of coronavirus at the club. “We hope we are going to be okay, but when you are looking at the number of cases around [the country], we start to be worried,” the Palace manager said.

Patrick Vieira admits he is ‘worried’ about the Covid-19 situation at Crystal Palace.
Patrick Vieira admits he is ‘worried’ about the Covid-19 situation at Crystal Palace. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

“We had a couple of cases in our football club in the last couple of days,” Vieira added. “We try our best to prevent and avoid a situation but it is worrying because we don’t know how the next couple of days will go.” Palace’s last match, against Watford last weekend, was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in their opponents’ squad.

Vieira did not confirm which players had tested positive for the virus and said that, while he is concerned about his squad’s well being, he did not agree with Pep Guardiola’s call for collective action. “I am against this kind of strike,” Vieira said. “What is really important at the moment is the voice of players or managers should be heard a little bit more.”

“I am not worried about the players’ welfare regarding the games during this period because it has been like that for years and years,” the 45-year-old added. “What I am worried about is the players’ welfare regarding Covid.” Vieira also supported Antonio Conte’s view that Thursday’s Premier League meeting achieved very little.

“When you have a meeting like that with 20 managers, it is always difficult to put your ideas or what you really think across,” Vieira said. “What was it for? I still don’t understand what the conclusion of that meeting was.” PA Media



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