Fan frustration as Aston Villa vs Burnley postponed two hours before kick-off due to Covid

Aston Villa’s match against Burnley has been postponed – making it the sixth Premier League fixture to be called off this weekend because of Covid-19.

Villa said they received an “increased amount” of positive test results on Saturday morning.

The postponement was announced just over two hours before the scheduled 15:00 GMT kick-off at Villa Park.

Villa apologised to Burnley and their fans but said they acted “as swiftly as possible” to “minimise disruption”.

An Aston Villa statement said: “The club is extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused to Burnley Football Club, both our own supporters and the Burnley fans due to attend the fixture.”

It means Leeds v Arsenal is Saturday’s only remaining Premier League game. Six matches were originally scheduled to take place.

Villa-Burnley is the 10th Premier League match to be postponed over the past week because of Covid-19 cases within clubs, and the sixth from this weekend’s fixture list.

Manchester United v Brighton, Southampton v Brentford, Watford v Crystal Palace and West Ham v Norwich had already been called off, plus Sunday’s game between Everton and Leicester.

Sunday’s matches between Newcastle v Manchester City, Wolves v Chelsea and Tottenham v Liverpool are due to go ahead as planned.

The Premier League said that it understands the decision to postpone the game a little more than two hours before kick-off “will frustrate and disappoint supporters”.

"After reviewing all the new information provided by Aston Villa this morning and receiving separate medical advice, the [Premier League] Board approved the request as a result of the club not having enough players to field a team. This decision was based on the number of Covid-19 cases, injuries and illness."

Premier League statement

t is the second Burnley match to have been called off this week after their home game with Watford was postponed on Wednesday, while their match with Tottenham on 28 November was unable to go ahead because of heavy snow.

Premier League clubs will meet on Monday to discuss the escalating crisis around the coronavirus pandemic, with the league’s chief executive Richard Masters having written to clubs urging players to get the vaccine and stressed the importance of the league completing the season.

Earlier this week, Brentford boss Thomas Frank said matches should be called off until 26 December to enable a reset, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he did not see the benefit in stopping.

 

Analysis

Match of the Day commentator Jonathan Pearce, speaking on Football Focus

 

Around about 2,000 Burnley fans are on their way here now.

What this underlines is that the whole Covid protocol needs to be resolved. There’s a meeting with the managers on Monday, I would think they’ll come up with a better solution than what we’ve had so far.

In my opinion, the league missed out on an opportunity. If they had called every game off from Wednesday night onwards, it would have given a 10-day isolation period before the Boxing Day matches.

Original article published 18.12.21 on the BBC Sport website

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