Burnley’s home match against Watford on Tuesday night has been postponed after the Premier League accepted that the Clarets do not have enough players available to field a team.
Earlier on Monday the Burnley manager Sean Dyche revealed only 10 first-team players had taken part in training, forcing the club to apply for a second successive postponement after Saturday’s match against Leicester was also called off.
“We’re at such a stretched moment in time that it’s very difficult all round,” Dyche said. “At training today there were 10 recognised first-team players. That’s where we’re at.”
The Premier League stipulates clubs can apply for a match to be rescheduled if they do not meet the criteria of 13 available outfield players and a goalkeeper. There have been some complaints that the system is being taken advantage of by some clubs with mounting injuries, rather than Covid cases, as well as players on international duty.
Burnley have plenty of injuries and their top goalscorer Maxwell Cornet is currently at the Africa Cup of Nations, but Dyche said their request had been made in “good faith”.
“We know over the last few weeks how clear the Premier League has been on the whys and wherefores and the level it needs to get to. We’ve put the application in in good faith. It’s only three days on from a game that was called off. We’ve worked really hard to get games on when we’ve been stretched but it’s just too far below the threshold.”
Asked whether there were Covid cases as well as injuries in the squad, Dyche said: “There’s a mix of all of that. There are some double bubbles as well: Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) is injured and has Covid. In the Premier League you need two clear days of training but players might have only been back for one day. That’s no use when you’ve had seven or 10 days in isolation doing very little.”
The match was set to be a crucial encounter at the bottom of the table, but instead Burnley will now have to find time to play their additional five games which have been postponed – four due to the pandemic and one due to bad whether – later in the season.
“The Premier League Board accepted Burnley’s application with the club having fewer than the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), due to ongoing Covid-19 cases, injuries and representation at the Africa Cup of Nations.”
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