Aston Villa vs Burnley postponed two hours before kick-off after Covid-19 outbreak

Aston Villa vs Burnley has been postponed barely two hours before kick-off due to an outbreak of Covid-19 among the home squad.

The Premier League match was scheduled to kick-off at 3pm GMT on Saturday at Villa Park. However, Villa recorded fresh positive cases of the coronavirus overnight, leaving them so short of available players that the league’s board accepted the club’s request to call off the match, with official news going out at 12.40pm, just two hours and 20 minutes before the match was due to start.

A Premier League statement read: “After reviewing all the new information provided by Aston Villa this morning and receiving separate medical advice, the Board approved the request as a result of the club not having enough players to field a team. This decision was based on the number of COVID-19 cases, injuries and illness.”

The decision leaves only four Premier League matches this weekend, as it stands: Leeds vs Arsenal at 5.30pm later on Saturday, before Newcastle vs Manchester City, Wolves vs Chelsea and Tottenham vs Liverpool on Sunday.

The league has arranged for a managers’ meeting on Monday to discuss how to proceed.

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Villa manager Steven Gerrard said on Friday: “On the back of what a lot of managers have said, we want the same thing which is for the the game to continue. There are obviously a lot of concerns and a lot of unanswered questions.”

Each decision is taken on a case-by-case basis, but clubs are guided that if 14 or more players are available then permission will not be granted to postpone. Clubs will be expected to utilise under-21 players with suitable experience in the Premier League, the EFL or overseas.

However the board do also consider medical advice from clubs on whether it is deemed to be an uncontrollable outbreak, in which case it is seen as unsafe to bring players together.

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