EPL clubs 'fearing' COVID shutdown

English Premier League

Premier League clubs are reportedly fearful of the potential need for another shutdown due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. 

On Monday night, the English top flight announced 42 positive tests for the virus, the highest number of such cases recorded in a single week, according to the Daily Mail.   

Manchester United, who are one of at least five clubs with confirmed positive cases, announced that their fixture against Brentford on Tuesday night has been postponed as a result, while Tottenham Hotspur's match against Brighton & Hove Albion on the weekend was also postponed. 

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The clubs' concerns about the new Omicron variant have been intensified by the slow movement of their vaccination programmes, with a majority of players having to wait to receive the booster jab required to provide some form of protection against the Omicron strain.

Per the Daily Mail, studies have revealed that the two previous jabs offer little immunity against the new variant, leaving many players anxiously waiting for their third vaccine doses.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers are reportedly the only EPL club that will meet UK prime minister Boris Johnson's target of boosting all over-18s by the end of the year, although Leeds United and Brentford are also understood to be en route to the same goal.

The league's vaccination database remains a guarded secret, but the last information they published on 19 October claimed that 68% of players in England's top flight had been fully vaccinated. 

This leaves the unvaccinated 32% in a seemingly dangerous position, and with the rapid spread of the Omicron strain already causing an estimated 200 000 COVID-19 infections in England, mass postponements could soon be on the cards.

If this does transpire, this could be disastrous for EPL clubs as it would lead to a heavy fixture backlog, and costly rebates would have to be made to broadcasters too.

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