The Premier League appear to have performed a last-minute U-turn over their strict Covid-19 guidelines – after giving the green light to postpone Manchester City’s visit to Everton on Monday night.
Pep Guardiola’s side were due to clash with Carlo Ancelotti’s men at Goodison Park but the game was called off four hours before they were scheduled to kick-off.
Three days after players Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were among four individuals to return positive tests, City announced that a further round of testing had “returned a number of positive cases”.
City lodged a request to postpone the match on Monday morning with confirmation coming after a Premier League board meeting in the afternoon.
Indeed, the English top-flight gave the go-ahead for the game to be postponed despite outlining strict protocols to teams ahead of the 2020/21 season getting underway back in September.
Clubs were told that, unless they have less than 14 players available, requests to postpone games will be rejected.
They were also urged to tap into their U21 squads to ensure that they fulfill their fixtures.
It had also been made clear to clubs in guidance sent out by the Premier League that any player who has played even a minute of first-team football will be seen as an option should their squads become depleted due to the illness, reported the Daily Mail.
But, despite strict measures, City’s clash with Everton was called off on Monday after the Etihad club confirmed fresh Covid-19 cases, though a number of players suffering from coronavirus was not given.
A statement confirmed: ” Manchester City FC can confirm that this evening’s Premier League fixture at Everton has been postponed.
“After the latest round of Covid-19 testing, the club returned a number of positive cases, in addition to the four already reported on Christmas Day.
“With the security of the bubble compromised, there posed a risk that the virus could spread further amongst the squad, the staff and potentially beyond.
“Based on strong medical advice the Premier League, in consultation with both clubs, have decided to postpone the fixture.
“All positive cases involving players and staff will observe a period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine.
“The first team training ground at City Football Academy will close for an indeterminate period, with the squad and associated bubble undergoing testing before any decision is made for training to resume.
“Everyone at the Club wishes all of our colleagues a speedy recovery ahead of their return to work, training and competition.”