Premier League clubs have unanimously decided that a team must have a minimum of four positive COVID cases before applying for a postponement to a match.
Premier League have agreed to change coronavirus postponement guidance after 22 matches have been called off so far this season.
Some postponements have however been controversial with clubs using coronavirus, injuries, suspensions and international duty as reasons to call off games.
A statement read: “Following a club meeting today (January 26), the Premier League’s COVID-19 match postponement guidance has been updated to include a COVID-19 impact threshold.
It’s hoped this will reduce the rate of COVID-related postponements in the top flight
“From now on, if a club applies to postpone a match on the grounds of insufficient players due to COVID-19, they must have a minimum of four positive cases within their squad.
This guidance will come into effect ahead of the next Premier League fixture on Saturday 5 February (Burnley FC v Watford FC).
Numerous top flight fixtures were postponed in recent months as the Omicron variant spread across the country, however, there have been suggestions some of these matches could’ve gone ahead with Arsenal on the top of the list.
Arsenal received a barrage of criticism after their north London derby clash against Tottenham was postponed due to unavailability to field 13 outfield players with goalkeepers despite the fact there was just one COVID case in the Gunners squad.
The news which came as surprise to both former Manchester United & Liverpool defender Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher respectively.
“I honestly believe that all teams, not just in the Premier League but the EFL now, must be made to play their fixtures,” said Neville.
“If it was purely down to Covid in extraordinary circumstances where there was 10 or 15 players out, but we’re now talking about teams for the last few weeks where there’s no doubt they’ve been calling games off based upon whether they think they’ve got the best squad or team to win a game. It’s got to stop.
“Manchester United and other teams have got 30 to 40 players in their squad – I’m not having they can’t get 13 to 16 players together.
Also Carragher said: “No other league in Europe is doing this, certainly not in those big leagues. Bayern Munich played a 16-year-old in their last game and that tells you exactly where they are. Why can’t we do that? Why can’t the young players be given an opportunity in these circumstances?
“Everyone’s in the same boat and I’m exactly with Gary. If it’s an outbreak of Covid and it’s decimated the squad I can understand that, but players being in the AFCON tournament and just normal injuries, that’s got nothing to do with it.
“You’ve got U23 squads and younger players, and this is an opportunity where they can get a chance.
Not only the Skysports pundits voice their dissatisfaction on the bizarre match postponement. Several coaches like Chelsea Thomas Tuchel, Southampton Ralph Hasenhuttl and Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte also offered their utmost concern about the situation on ground.
Futhermore, It was also announced on Monday that fans will no longer need to show Covid passports when attending Premier League matched.
A Premier League statement said:”In line with the latest Government guidance, COVID passes will no longer be enforced as a condition of entry to a Premier League match.
The Premier League and clubs will continue to urge fans to follow public health guidance to keep each other safe on a matchday, including wearing face coverings when indoors or in crowded areas.”
The Premiership is set to resume on February 5 with Burnley and Watford scheduled to be played before the full return to fixtures on February 8; A match which was postponed due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Clarets’ dressing room.