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Football facing Christmas Covid chaos as Omicron set to wreak havoc on festive schedule


The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has seen the UK suffer a record number of daily cases and football is already struggling to deal with the pandemic’s latest turn

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Boris Johnson urges UK to ‘get boosted now’ to fight Omicron

Football is facing Christmas Covid chaos.

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And the Premier League is also struggling to contain a revolt by angry ­managers as:

Burnley ’s match with Watford was called off less than three hours before kick-off on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp demanded more transparency on the number of ­players affected.

Brendan Rodgers believes big clubs are getting preferential ­treatment after Leicester ’s request for tonight’s game with Tottenham to be postponed was rejected.

Antonio Conte fears the health of some players is being put at risk.

Weekend Championship games at Reading, QPR and ­Millwall have already been postponed.

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Last night’s late postponement of the Burnley game because Watford had insufficient fit first-team players made it three matches this week to have fallen victim to the surge in cases from Omicron.

The Premier League have already reverted to emergency measures

Premier League rules state clubs must have 14 players available to stage games but decisions will be made on a medical basis, particularly in cases of “uncontrollable outbreaks” with extra sympathy for those teams that have closed their training grounds.

There were a record 42 positives among top-flight players and staff in the latest round of testing.

Liverpool boss Klopp says the number of players infected should be publicly revealed. He said: “I don’t understand why we are not more open.

“Why do we hide it – why does nobody know the number of players who have it? It is always a little bit like, ‘Some staff, some players’. Come on, say it and then we can understand why you are not able to play.”

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Spurs have had games with Brighton and Rennes called off and head coach Conte said: “It’s not an easy situation.

“For sure Covid for us is a big problem.

“The way Covid affects your body, we have to pay great attention.

“Nobody knows the time the players need to recover and to be 100 percent. This is true for the whole world, not just for Tottenham. But when you have a squad of 20 players and nine have Covid, it’s normal that I am a bit worried.”

Conte will hoping that Harry Kane & Co will be fit and firing at Leicester following their enforced break.

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But Italian warned: “Also you risk having players injured after Covid. The players who are back need to be fit.

“I will bring these players back on to the bench. They have maybe 25 minutes in the legs.”

Boris Johnson has urged people to get their booster jabs
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Image:

Sky News)

Leicester boss Rodgers was asked if the Premier League stood accused of giving special treatment to big clubs, and replied: “It is a great angle to take. I think you are on the right lines.

“We asked the Premier League to have a look at our request, but it was rejected. It is disappointing.

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“There will have been games called off with more players available than what we have, but we weren’t given that privilege.

“It is a really difficult period anyway, where the biggest squads have that advantage because of the number of games.

“If a club like ourselves, which doesn’t have that depth, and has a number of players out, it makes it very, very difficult.

“There are other clubs who have suffered. It would just be nice to ensure it is a fair competition for all.”

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