Aston Villa have asked the Premier League to postpone their fixture against Everton on Sunday owing to the Covid-19 outbreak at the Midlands club.
Villa’s entire first-team squad and support staff have been in isolation since last week after nine players and five backroom staff tested positive for the virus. The club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground was closed as a result.
Public Health England guidelines demand anyone who has been infected with Covid-19 or been in close contact with an infected person must isolate for at least 10 days after the day of the test. That means most of Villa’s squad and staff cannot emerge from isolation until Sunday at the earliest. Villa have concerns about the feasibility of going from isolation straight into a league game without having trained for nearly two weeks.
Villa fielded a team consisting of under-23 and under-18 players in order to complete their FA Cup tie against Liverpool last week but their league match against Tottenham, slated for Wednesday, was pushed back until later in the season, with Fulham instructed to step in and fill the gap in the fixture list by playing Spurs instead.
If the match on Sunday is postponed, Villa will find themselves having played three matches fewer than some teams, since they have yet to play the game against Newcastle that was supposed to take place in December but was postponed after a coronavirus outbreak at the north-east club.
Villa have received guidance from PHE about how to handle the outbreak at their club. “PHE has given advice on the management of the Covid-19 cases at Aston Villa,” the agency said in a statement. “This has involved detailed and independent assessment of the cases and their close contacts.
“PHE provides the same (or equivalent) advice to all workplaces on managing a Covid outbreak, and where appropriate would recommend a review of their infection control processes and compliance with these.”