The Premier League have released an official statement to confirm reports that the outcome of today’s virtual meeting of the league was to continue the “current fixture schedule where safely possible” — where “safely possible” apparently means “at least 13 fit players and 1 goalkeeper”.
The league remain quite determined evidently to push through this problem rather than institute a brief break to let (all) teams deal with the situation without the pressures of also trying to fulfil fixtures while also trying to prevent further outbreaks and/or allay fears among players and staff of contracting the disease. While there is no simple answer or solution, the current approach doesn’t seem very fair nor does it fully jibe with the league’s stated intent that “the health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority”. The issue isn’t just the coronavirus, but the knock-off effect of fatigue and overload on the rest of the players, for example.
On the plus side, the league’s statement does confirm that 92% of players have received at least 1 dose of vaccine, with 84% on “the vaccination journey”. I don’t exactly know what “vaccination journey” means — what, like a vision quest? — but the BBC’s Dan Roan adds that 77% of the players are double-jabbed, which would seem to indicate that 7% (84-77) have had just one shot while 8% (92-84) have now gotten their (first of a lifetime of) booster shots (against a soon-to-be endemic disease) as well.
So, I guess it’s time to keep calm and carry on.
(Meanwhile, both the League Cup and the FA Cup are pushing ahead as well, with the latter at least removing all replays for this season. So if Brentford can’t field a team on Wednesday in the League Cup quarterfinal, the EFL will look to postpone rather than cancel the fixture.)
77% of Premier League players have received two vaccine jabs (59% across EFL).— Dan Roan (@danroan) December 20, 2021
*The league says player vaccination rates “will now be publicly communicated at the end of each month, beginning in January.”