Premier League says minimum four COVID-19 cases needed for fixture postponement

A total of 22 games have been called off this season due to COVID-19 outbreaks and the subsequent unavailability of players.

Representational Image: The new guidelines will kick in ahead of the game between Burnley and Watford on February 5.

Clubs can apply for a fixture postponement only if they have a minimum of four positive COVID-19 cases in their squads, the Premier League said on Wednesday following a meeting of representatives of all 20 sides.

A total of 22 games have been called off this season due to COVID-19 outbreaks and the subsequent unavailability of players, with the league being criticised by some clubs for their handling of the crisis.

Earlier, a match could be postponed if one of the teams did not have 13 available outfield players -- and one goalkeeper -- "either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players".

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"Following a club meeting today, the Premier League's COVID-19 match postponement guidance has been updated to include a COVID-19 impact threshold," the league said in a statement.

"From now on, if a club applies to postpone a match on the grounds of insufficient players due to COVID-19, they must have a minimum of four positive cases within their squad."

The new guidelines will kick in ahead of the game between Burnley and Watford on February 5.

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