The Premier League warned clubs on Friday that disciplinary action will be taken for violations of coronavirus rules amid a sharp spike in cases, including 10 Aston Villa players who were forced to isolate themselves after testing positive.
The outbreak in Villa threatens its Premier League games next week, but the team will still play its FA Cup match against Liverpool on Friday using only youth players.
In games, players have become more lax and the league wants them to minimize contact. Clubs were told in a league letter that the handshakes, hugs, and shirt changing should be stopped, in an attempt to limit the risk of the spread of COVID-19, particularly with a more communicable variant of the disease circulating in England.
The government has allowed professional sports to continue despite England being placed in its last lockdown this week and some players are involved in high-profile mockery of the national rules over Christmas with parties.
“Ensuring public, government and stakeholder confidence in training and match day protocols is vital for clubs to properly investigate and sanction individual transgressions by relevant persons,” the league told clubs in a letter. first published on “The Daily Telegraph” website.
Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action by the league individually against the relevant person, when appropriate (for example, when his conduct discredits the league) and / or against the club (where the relevant person’s conduct constitutes a breach of the training protocol) ”.
The league could investigate the circumstances of the outbreaks within teams to discover the cause and assess whether action should be taken.
“There are times when young people will deviate from the rules,” Villa CEO Christian Purslow told Sky Sports, “and whether you’re a parent or CEO of a soccer club, that’s a at which point you have to be very strict and remind people of their responsibilities. “
League compliance officers can go to training grounds and locker rooms on game days to verify that coronavirus protocols are being followed.
Clubs have been told to limit interactions between players and coaches outside of games and training sessions, including the use of dining rooms only the day before games or on match days.
Anyone who comes into contact with players on the transportation used to get to the games will also have to test negative for COVID-19 in advance.
Villa’s training ground in central England was closed after 14 positive cases, 10 of which were players, were discovered in two rounds of testing, on Monday and Thursday.
Tests were also conducted with the youngsters to ensure that Villa could field a team against Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup.
The squad will be packed with players from the U18 and U23 squads, with U23 manager Mark Delaney leading the team in place of manager Dean Smith.
Villa’s next Premier League match is against Tottenham on Wednesday, and Purslow didn’t know if that match would go ahead.
Three Premier League games – Everton against Manchester City, Tottenham against Fulham and Burnley against Fulham – were postponed last week due to outbreaks of COVID-19 between clubs.
Many more games have been canceled in England’s lower divisions.
On Friday, the English Football League, which administers the three divisions below the Premier League, reported 112 positive cases from 3,507 players and staff members who were tested in the latest round of testing. That is an infection rate of more than 3%.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.