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Newcastle United close training ground until further tests ensure safety – Sky Sports

2 months ago
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Sky Sports have given out an update on Monday night, regarding the virus situation at Newcastle United.

Steve Bruce revealed on Friday that there were three players and one member of staff who had tested positive for the virus.

Then Sunday brought the dispiriting news that two further Newcastle United players had been found to be positive with the virus after testing.

Earlier today (Monday), various media reported that the Newcastle United first team squad were heading back to the training ground this afternoon, after training had been cancelled on Sunday due to needing to ensure all was safe as possible before allowing the players back.

However, now Sky Sports have revealed that the first team squad DIDN’T train at Benton today.

Keith Downie covers Newcastle United for Sky Sports and he says that not only did the Newcastle players not train on Monday at Benton, they will not be returning to the training ground until ‘further testing and test results’ are available, to ‘ensure the training ground is a safe working place’….

Also on Monday night, Craig Hope of The Mail, who normally has his finger on the pulse, reported the same as the Sky Sports news and says Tuesday’s training session at Benton is also cancelled. Sky Sports meanwhile claim that Tuesday’s training happening, or not, will depend on new test results the club are set to receive sometime on Tuesday.

Neither Sky Sports or the man from The Mail talk of any contingency plans to train elsewhere and indeed, it would be very difficult / impossible for all the players to come together at a different venue in any confidence, especially until further test results are known.

So it appears that we are back to the situation of players doing some training by themselves, as was the case ahead of the 2019/20 Premier League restart earlier this year.

Whatever is, or isn’t happening, this is not ideal for preparation to play away at Aston Villa on Friday night.

That match at Villa Park is set to kick off at 8pm on 4 December 2020 and some people have raised the possibility of the Aston Villa v Newcastle game potentially getting called off.

However, before the 2020/21 Premier League started, a number of newspapers were given leaked information that the Premier League had sent out to the 20 clubs, regarding guidance when it came to dealing with the virus and what it would take for calling off matches.

Not surprisingly, the Premier League are 100% intent on allowing as little interruption to the season as possible, the very worst case scenario would be if they found themselves unable to finish the season and face massive penalties from broadcasters and others.

One of those to get hold of the leaked Premier League virus guidance to clubs ahead of the season, was The Mail, who in their report on 6 September 2020 said:

Premier League clubs will be forced to play even if their squad suffers a major virus outbreak.

Postponement requests will be rejected unless fewer than 14 players available.

Any youngsters who have played a minute or more of senior football should be promoted and will be counted as one of the 14 available players.

The Mail stated that they had been given access to the guidance sent to all 20 Premier League clubs and that if any club refused to fulfil a fixture, the Premier League would convene an independent disciplinary panel to hear the case with the usual sanctions at their disposal, including possible points deductions, as well as of course, awarding the three points to the opposition, unless the criteria stated above (less than 14 players available) meant a club would be accepted to have had no choice but to ask for a match to be called off.

In the summer, when completing the 2019/20 Champions League and Europa League competitions, UEFA had ruled that any club that could not fill a 13 man squad would forfeit the match and lose 3-0. With no postponements allowed whatsoever.

So on the basis outlined above, Newcastle United have some way to go before they could potentially ask for a postponement of Aston Villa v Newcastle on Friday. Not able to train as normal won’t be enough to come anywhere close to being able to get the match postponed.

Newcastle United had an 18 man squad at Crystal Palace, as well as an unknown number of players left on Tyneside who could potentially have also played.

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