Giving Formula 1 race director Michael Masi a run for his money as the most arbitrary decision-making body in professional sports, the Premier League have rejected Chelsea’s request to postpone today’s match against Wolves, apparently on the grounds that we have 14 able-bodied players available for the match.
Chelsea requested the game be postponed on the basis there will have to be players on the bench who are not fit enough to play. PL rejected on basis they ruled Chelsea have 14 players available for the game. Believe Chelsea had two further positives yesterday and one today #cfc— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) December 19, 2021
But the rules don’t seem to be set or codified in any relevant manner, leading to suggestions of favoritism and incompetence. While some teams who have seen postponements counted positive cases in the double-digits, other teams like Leeds United have been forced to play with youth players. Chelsea have not added any youth or reserves to the squad, perhaps in hope of making the league see reason.
Alas, that has not happened.
“We are deeply disappointed that our application was rejected as we felt we had a strong case for the postponement of today‘s match on the grounds of players’ health and safety.”
Chelsea have named a threadbare squad for the Wolves match, with two goalkeepers, three fit players, and one unfit player on the bench.
“It is exactly like this, we thought we had a strong case regarding the security and health of players, we have seven positive cases, we were made to be in the bus and travel together for three hours, were in meeting together, in dinner and lunch and the situation does not feel like it will stop.
“We applied to not play and put the situation under control and it was rejected. It is very hard to understand it, we are concerned about the health of the players. We end up with players who play coming from injuries and we take the risk.
“I am worried from a medical point of view, we have had four days of consecutive tests. How will it stop if we are in a bus together and in meetings?
“We are disappointed, we are a bit angry.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football 365
Kai Havertz is among the latest to test positive, joining Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ben Chilwell (injured as well), and one or two players yet to be named.