Leicester’s Premier League match against Tottenham on Thursday has been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak as Brentford boss Thomas Frank called for the entire weekend programme to be scrapped.
Britain is battling record numbers of Covid-19 cases as the Omicron variant wreaks havoc, with fears growing that the crisis could derail the football season.
The Leicester v Spurs game at the King Power Stadium became the fourth Premier League match to be postponed in the past week.
Tottenham’s Covid-postponed Europa League match against Rennes has been cancelled.
“Leicester City can confirm that the Premier League Board has decided to postpone Thursday night’s fixture against Tottenham Hotspur,” the club said in a statement on Thursday.
“The decision was taken with guidance from medical advisors after the club resubmitted its application for postponement after confirmation this morning of further positive tests for Covid-19 within the first-team squad.
“As a result, the club has an insufficient number of first-team players available to fulfil the match.”
Brentford’s home game against Manchester United, scheduled to have taken place on Tuesday, was one of the other matches to be postponed.
The club have Covid-19 issues in their own camp ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southampton and Frank said he would like to see a break in play to help manage the situation across the league.
“We think we should postpone the full round of Premier League games this weekend,” he said.
“Covid cases are going through the roof at all Premier League clubs. Everyone is dealing with it and having problems.
“To postpone this round and also the Carabao (League) Cup round would give everyone a week at least, or four or five days to clean and do everything at the training ground so everything is clean and you break the chain.”
Frank was informed of four more Covid cases overnight — bringing the current total involving players and staff at the club to 13 — midway through his Thursday morning press conference.
“This Omicron variant is running like wildfire around the world and I think we need to do all we can to protect and avoid it,” he said. “I think we can do a lot by closing down training grounds for three, four or five days, and then we can go again.”
Burnley’s home clash with Watford was postponed just two-and-a-half hours before the scheduled kick-off on Wednesday following an outbreak in the visitors’ squad.
Burnley defender Matt Lowton was asked at a press conference what he made of Frank’s suggestion, and said he had mixed feelings.
“From a player’s point of view, we want to play – we want to come to the weekend and have the game (at Aston Villa on Saturday), have the buzz, that’s what we’ve trained for all week,” he said.
“But obviously the safety of players, fans and things like that is paramount.”
Thursday’s game between Chelsea and Everton and Liverpool’s home match against Newcastle are both still scheduled to go ahead.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s weekend fixture against Brighton this weekend has been postponed, the Premier League announced on Thursday.
“Regarding Manchester United’s game on Saturday, the club continues to have an ongoing Covid-19 outbreak within their squad, which has left them unable to field a team for the match at Old Trafford,” the English top flight said in a statement.
“A significant number of Covid-19 cases led to their game against Brentford FC being called off earlier this week, and today additional positive tests have been confirmed.”