Tottenham’s London derby with Fulham has become the latest Premier League game to fall foul of coronavirus.
Tottenham’s clash with Fulham on Wednesday has been postponed due to a number of positive coronavirus cases in the visitors’ camp – but the Premier League insist there is no reason to pause the season.
The match, scheduled to kick off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at 18:00 GMT, is the third Premier League game this month to be called off due to COVID-19 – and the second this week.
Fulham reported a significant rise in positive tests on Tuesday and, with several players showing symptoms on the day of the game, requested that the London derby be rearranged to a later date.
The decision to officially postpone the match was made by the Premier League less than three hours before it was due to get under way.
“Fulham FC’s match at Tottenham Hotspur, due to be played at 6pm this evening, has been postponed following a Premier League Board meeting this afternoon,” a statement read.
“Fulham lodged a request with the Premier League Board to rearrange the fixture following a significant rise in positive COVID-19 cases, as well as a number of players showing symptoms today.
“The Premier League Board has consulted its medical advisors and the decision to postpone the game has been taken as a precaution and with the health of players and staff as the priority. The group will now be retested immediately.”
Manchester City’s trip to Everton on Monday was called off four hours before kick-off after a number of City staff members and players returned positive tests. The meeting between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at the start of December also had to be rescheduled.
The latest postponement comes a day after the Premier League revealed 18 new positive COVID-19 cases among players and staff – the highest weekly total since the pandemic took hold.
However, despite calls from managers such as West Brom boss Sam Allardyce for a “circuit break” – a two-week pause from all football – the Premier League “has full confidence” fixtures can still go ahead as planned.
“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the Premier League continues to have full confidence in its COVID-19 protocols and being able to continue to play our fixtures as scheduled,” the statement added.
“The League wishes those with COVID-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in due course.”
Shortly before the official announcement was made, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho took to social media to air his frustration at the lack of updates from league officials.
“Match at 6pm… We still don’t know if we play. Best league in the world,” he posted on Instagram.
Tottenham, who now face a possible fixture backlog in the coming weeks, said in a statement: “The Premier League informed us of the decision this afternoon, with Fulham having requested the postponement on the grounds of the number of COVID-19 positive cases among their players and staff.
“Everyone at Tottenham Hotspur sends their best wishes to Fulham for a safe and speedy recovery to all those who are affected. Details of a new date for the fixture will be confirmed in due course.”
Fulham were without boss Scott Parker for their goalless draw with Southampton on Boxing Day after someone in his household tested positive for COVID-19.
The west London outfit confirmed their players and staff members to have returned positive tests are now quarantining.
“Those players and staff who tested positive have been self-isolating in line with UK Government and Premier League guidance,” a statement on their official website read.
“We wish the players and staff who tested positive a safe and speedy recovery.”