Game off: Newcastle United granted Everton postponement request following COVID-19 outbreak
The Magpies have been hit by COVID-19 and injuries this week and weren’t able to name a full bench for Monday night’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
Further injuries to Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser also hampered Eddie Howe’s ability to name a full side for the originally scheduled match at Goodison Park on December 30.
A Newcastle club statement read: “A number of players and staff members have returned positive results during routine PCR tests in recent days, while several players have suffered injuries during an extremely busy period of fixtures.
"Accordingly, Newcastle United lodged a formal request with the Premier League to postpone Thursday’s fixture at Goodison Park, and that has been approved by the Premier League Board.
"The match, which was scheduled to kick off at 7:30pm (GMT), will now be rescheduled and a new date and time will be confirmed in due course.
"Newcastle United would like to place on record its thanks to Everton FC and the Premier League for their cooperation and understanding.
"The club also wishes to offer its sincere apologies to supporters of both clubs for any inconvenience caused by these circumstances.
"Newcastle United will continue to follow extensive coronavirus protocols and the club is working with Public Health England North East (PHE), local health authorities and the Premier League to minimise the risk of further transmission.
"The club will not be naming individuals who have contracted Covid-19 or their vaccination status. We ask that their privacy is respected and we wish them a full and speedy recovery.”
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.
Newcastle’s next Premier League match is set to take place at Southampton on January 2 (2pm kick-off) though the recent COVID outbreak has cast some uncertainty over whether it will go ahead as planned.