Everton vs Man City off after more positive Covid tests

Monday night fixture at Goodison Park postponed due to positive tests

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Monday 28 December 2020 16:47 GMT
Everton’s Richarlison and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne
Everton’s Richarlison and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne (Getty Images)

Everton’s meeting with Manchester City on Monday night has been postponed after further positive coronavirus tests among City’s party. 

Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker and two members of City’s staff tested positive for the virus last week and missed the Boxing Day win over Newcastle United. 

The Premier League confirmed that “an increase in positive COVID-19 test results” at City had forced Monday’s game to be rearranged just hours before the scheduled 8.00pm kick-off. 

City have now closed their training ground, the City Football Academy, for an “indeterminate period, with the squad and associated bubble undergoing testing before any decision is made for training to resume", a club statement read. 

“Everyone at the club wishes all of our colleagues a speedy recovery ahead of their return to work, training and competition.” 

The Premier League said that City had lodged a request to rearrange the game earlier on Monday after learning of the new positive cases that morning. 

“This rise has created uncertainty and the Premier League board received medical advice that the match should be postponed. 

"The board agreed to rearrange the game as a precaution, and further testing will now take place tomorrow,” the league’s statement read. 

"The decision has been taken with the health of players and staff the priority. The Premier League continues to have full confidence in its protocols and rules, and the way in which all clubs are implementing them.  

“The league wishes those with COVID-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture against Everton in due course.”

Monday’s game is the second in the Premier League to be postponed this season due to a coronavirus outbreak following Newcastle’s scheduled trip to Aston Villa earlier this month.

City are next due to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with an EFL Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Old Trafford the following Wednesday.

City are expected to be granted a postponement if they are unable to fulfil the EFL Cup fixture, with rules on forfeit only applying up to the fourth round. 

Leyton Orient were forced to forfeit their third round tie against Tottenham Hotspur following an outbreak among their squad in September.

Premier League squads are tested once per week under current guidelines but recently announced that those clubs under the government’s tier 4 restrictions would be tested twice per week.

Testing at clubs in lower tiers is also set to be stepped up to twice per week from January. 

Everton - along with neighbours Liverpool - are one of only two Premier League clubs located in a tier 2 area and are therefore permitted to admit supporters to matches, with 2,000 fans originally expected to attend Monday night’s fixture.

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