After a weekend that saw the majority of fixtures (6 of 10) postponed due to COVID outbreaks at multiple teams — and saw other teams like Chelsea and Leeds United struggle to field complete matchday squads or have to fill out squads with youth players — the Premier League stakeholders met (virtually) on Monday to discuss a potential short break to help teams cope with and recover from their current situations.
Unfortunately, as reported by the Athletic and others, the “large majority” of the Premier League “wish to play on” and keep trying to fulfill all fixtures as currently scheduled.
The report names Liverpool and Arsenal as two of the minority of clubs in support of moving fixtures and postponing at least one round (or all the already closely festive fixtures), but the rest of the league seem quite reluctant to do so.
As per the BBC, clubs have been advised that if they have “13 fit players, plus a goalkeeper,” they have to play.
The main reasoning behind said reluctance appears to be that the pandemic situation won’t change even if a break is instituted — i.e. Omicron will still be around and spreading fast. But while that’s true, the league’s current method of dealing with it seems both unfair competitively and unsustainable generally. Even if a circuit-breaker would present logistical or financial challenges, putting our heads in the sand is not the answer.