Premier League clubs on Tuesday reached agreement to move to emergency measures in the fight against COVID-19, including daily tests for players.
In light of a record number of positive cases among players and staff in the English top flight last week, clubs have been informed that they should carry out daily lateral flow tests on players with PCR tests to take place twice weekly. The agreement at the clubs' shareholder meeting came after two Premier League fixtures scheduled to take place in the last three days were postponed -- first Tottenham's game with Brighton on Sunday and then Manchester United's meeting with Brentford on Tuesday.
Aston Villa were also forced to cancel training on Sunday after positive cases within the club whilst in the Championship Queens Park Rangers had to request the postponement of their fixture with Sheffield United.
In testing carried out from Monday to Sunday of last week, there were 42 positive results COVID-19 tests, more than at any stage since the league began announcing results in May 2020. In addition to daily testing players will be instructed to social distance and wear masks whilst indoors or travelling. It has also been suggested to clubs that they look to limit the time players spend receiving medical treatment.
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The competition's attempts to quell the spread of the virus may not stop there. A document sent to senior staff across the Premier League and seen by CBS Sports indicates that a next step could see clubs asked to close canteens, meeting areas and other indoor facilities to limit the spread of the virus. Clubs were also encouraged to go above and beyond the minimum standards set for them in this meeting.
These changes for players come as match going supporters are also asked to make adjustments in light of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Subject to a vote in Parliament that the government are expected to win, from Wednesday onwards fans will be asked to show a vaccine passport before entering any venue with more than 10,000 people. That will include all Premier League grounds.
Fans will be obliged to bring with them either proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow/PCR test taken within 48 hours of kick off. Among the first matches to be played under these new rules will be Arsenal's Premier League game at home to West Ham. The managers of both teams have confirmed that there were no positive COVID-19 cases in their squad and the match is set to go ahead as planned.