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Will Aston Villa v Newcastle United be postponed? This is how many positive cases are needed

5 months ago

It is Aston Villa v Newcastle United on Friday night.

The match at Villa Park set to kick off at 8pm on 4 December 2020 behind closed doors but with a worldwide TV audience.

However, will Sky Sports customers in the UK and those watching around the globe, get their latest exciting Newcastle United episode of what passes for football these days?

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

Depending on which media you read, this meant either four or five Newcastle players, plus a member of NUFC club staff, were now self-isolating.

Steve Bruce himself had said on Friday that there were three players and one member of staff, so if we can rely on our Head Coach, it means five Newcastle United players currently positive and set to be ruled out of the Aston Villa match.

This has brought claims from some people about the possibility of the Aston Villa v Newcastle game set to be called off BUT what is the truth, how many positive cases would it need for NUFC to be allowed to postpone, if they wanted to?

Well, if you look back to just before the 2020/21 Premier League started, you get the answer.

A number of newspapers were given leaked information from the Premier League, regarding guidance for the clubs on the season ahead when it came to dealing with the virus and what it would take for calling off matches.

Not surprisingly, the Premier League 100% intent on allowing as little interruption to the season as possible, the very worst case scenario 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.

They 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.

Here’s hoping that none of this will become necessary and that there will be no more positive cases found amongst the Newcastle United squad, with hopefully none of those who have tested positive falling ill to any significant degree with the virus.


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