Omicron: Premier League stars will need to get tested on CHRISTMAS DAY

Premier League stars will need to get PCR tested on CHRISTMAS DAY as bosses unanimously agree to invoke emergency protocol in a bid to avoid an Omicron shutdown amid a surge of Covid outbreaks at different clubs

  • Premier League players will be required to be tested for Covid nine times a week
  • Clubs have been asked to consider daily LFT tests plus two PCR tests each week
  • As part of the latest measures, players will need to be tested on Christmas Day 
  • Before being admitted to a training ground, players and staff will test in their car 
  • Premier League detailed a record 42 positive tests across two cycles last week 

Premier League players will be forced to report to club training grounds for PCR tests on Christmas Day as part of a massively increased screening programme designed to save the festive programme from the threat of an Omicron shutdown.

Under new emergency protocols agreed by clubs on Tuesday, players will be asked to take up to nine Covid-19 tests each week – seven lateral flow and two PCR – due to fears about the greater transmissibility of the new variant.

While clubs unanimously agreed to the new testing regime, there are concerns in some quarters about the logistics involved, particularly the decision to make PCR tests mandatory the day before each fixture.

Christmas Day PCR tests will be required for Premier League players under new protocols

 

As a result, away teams may have to travel considerable distances while waiting for test results to ensure games can go ahead.

That may lead to the prospect of 11th-hour postponements – such as Tuesday night’s match between Brentford and Manchester United, which was called off at 11.50pm on Monday after a late Premier League Board meeting.

In another new development, all players and staff will take lateral flow tests in their cars each day before being admitted to club training grounds.

Once there, they will then have an additional PCR test the day before a fixture, including on Christmas Day.

The lateral flow tests on players’ designated days off will be voluntary, but all clubs will strongly encourage their use and record all the data.

The Premier League have acted swiftly to respond to the Omicron threat after announcing a record 42 positive tests across two testing cycles last week. They anticipate the number of cases will continue to rise.

The changes were agreed only four days after the previous twice-weekly testing regime was beefed up to three times a week last Friday.

Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been sidelined recently having tested positive for Covid

Manchester United returned positive tests and Tuesday’s game against Brentford was off

It is a clear sign of clubs’ concern about the danger of mass cancellations and another shutdown – as reported by Sportsmail on Monday.

Since the detection of Omicron in the UK, a number of clubs have reported outbreaks of the virus.

They include Tottenham, Leicester City, Manchester United, Aston Villa, QPR and West Bromwich Albion, with Norwich City having one player affected.

Tottenham’s match at Brighton was postponed, QPR had to call off Monday’s Championship game with Sheffield United and this Saturday’s fixture against Swansea due to an outbreak, while United’s trip to Brentford on Tuesday night was also postponed.

The Premier League are determined to do all they can to keep future matches on, however.

They would rather return to behind-closed-doors fixtures than pause the season – although they will not sanction that move either unless ordered to do so by the Government. 

Premier League clubs voted unanimously on measures on Tuesday in a bid to avoid a shutdown

 




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