How Newcastle United's match at Everton could be postponed after COVID-19 cases are confirmed
Following Monday night’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United at St James’s Park, Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe confirmed that the squad had been hit by COVID as he made six changes from the previous league match and was unable to name a full bench.
The match itself saw Callum Wilson forced off with a suspected torn calf which is set to keep him out for an extended period meanwhile Allan Saint-Maximin is facing a shorter spell on the sidelines with a less serious calf issue.
Ryan Fraser was also withdrawn during the match and is a doubt for the trip to Goodison Park due to a hamstring problem. Isaac Hayden will return from suspension but Javier Manquillo’s fifth booking of the season means he will miss the trip.
As a result, Howe has admitted Newcastle are ‘dangerously close’ to requesting a postponement of Thursday night’s match.
Everton have also been hit by a COVID outbreak and were forced to postpone their Boxing Day match against Burnley.
If the players who missed Monday’s match due to injury or COVID remain unavailable for the trip to Everton, Newcastle will be flirting dangerously with the minimum 13 available outfield player threshold – providing they have no further cases or injuries.
What the Premier League rules say about COVID-19 postponements
Premier League rules stipulate if a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper from its squad list or its ‘appropriately experienced’ under-21 players due to COVID-19 infections, isolation and other injuries and illnesses, the match will be postponed.
A match may also be postponed as a precaution where the status of a COVID outbreak at a club is unclear with insufficient time to acquire sufficient information ahead of the scheduled match.
The Premier League board will also consider the number of individuals affected by the outbreak and their proximity to the match in question.
Advice from the UK Health Security Agency and other public bodies will also be considered. If a club has to close its training ground in a way that significantly impairs their ability to prepare for a match, a postponement will also be considered.
How Newcastle could get the match postponed
Howe has suggested Newcastle are close to requesting a postponement for the Everton match. In order to be successful with their request, they will have to produce a detailed account of their COVID situation as well ‘clear reasons why they believe the match should be postponed’.
They must provide the following information for consideration:
- Players and staff who have returned a positive COVID-19 test, their vaccination status and, if known, the source of their infections- Players and staff who are self-isolating- Players who are unavailable to play through injury or illness- Players listed on the club’s squad list who are still available to play in the match, including appropriately experienced under-21 players (under-21 players who have played for the club, another Premier League or EFL club, or an overseas club in the current season). - Supporting medical information to verify the status of each unavailable player, which will be reviewed by the League’s medical advisers