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Southampton have lodged official complaint after Newcastle postpone game – Multiple sources

4 weeks ago
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Southampton have not taken the news well, after Friday brought confirmation that the Premier League had agreed to the postponement of Sunday’s game.

Newcastle United having put the request in, due to an overwhelming number of Covid cases and injuries, meaning they couldn’t field the required minimum of 13 senior outfield players and at least one goalkeeper.

Now multiple sources are reporting that Southampton have made an official complaint following the postponement.

Amongst those reporting the Southampton strop, are The Athletic and The Telegraph…

The Telegraph report – 31 December 2021:

‘Southampton are furious at the late postponement of their match against Newcastle United and have lodged a complaint with the Premier League over the lack of transparency when fixtures are suddenly called off.

Although league rules state that matches can be rearranged if clubs have fewer than 14 available players due to injuries and Covid-19 cases, there is a growing sense that the mass of matches which have been postponed is now damaging the integrity of the competition.

There is also a feeling that there is now no incentive for those clubs who are willing to promote academy players when there is an injury crisis, have high vaccination rates among their players (Southampton are at 99 per cent) and have been stringent in taking Covid-19 precautions all season.

Southampton, and many other clubs, believes that there now needs to be full transparency in knowing exactly which players are injured and how many of the squad have Covid-19 when a postponement request is granted. 

In announcing the Newcastle postponement, the Premier League said that “the club does not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), due to Covid-19 cases and injuries”. There was no further detail, however, on the precise nature of all the injuries and the exact numbers of Covid-19 cases within the playing squad.’

The Athletic report – 31 December 2021:

‘Southampton’s game against Newcastle has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak and a mounting injury list at the away side.

The Athletic understands Southampton are not happy that the game has been postponed and have let their feelings be known.’

In that Telegraph report above, they state: ‘There was no further detail, however, on the precise nature of all the injuries and the exact numbers of Covid-19 cases within the playing squad.’

Am I missing something here?

This is the 18th Premier League match to have been postponed so far and in the previous seventeen, I have NEVER seen any listing of exactly how many players had Covid and / or the exact nature of each and every injury to other players.

It it is true that Southampton are really kicking off about this particular postponement, then I don’t think it reflects well at all on the professionalism of their club. So are they really doubting the integrity of Eddie Howe and everybody else at Newcastle United?

Southampton do have a legitimate gripe in one respect BUT that has nothing at all to do with Newcastle United AND is not totally relevant to what is happening now. Their legitimate gripe is that February 2020 saw them struck down by numerous injuries and they fielded a hugely inexperienced squad in losing 9-0 to Manchester United.

However, these emergency rules now brought in to deal with the threat of Covid, specifically state that games can be postponed if any Premier League club is hit by the required number of Covid cases AND injuries that means they can’t field 13 senior outfield players and a goalkeeper.

I find it intriguing that only two weeks ago Southampton were due to play Brentford and that game was called off.

Yet I didn’t hear anything at all about official complaints going in from Southampton, questioning why / how Brentford were having the fixture postponed.

Again, when it comes to being professional, I looked on the official Southampton website and these are extracts from their two official statements telling their supporters each game was postponed…

Southampton Official Statement after Newcastle home match postponed – 31 December 2021:

‘The Premier League has today informed Southampton Football Club that its scheduled match against Newcastle United this Sunday has been postponed.

The teams were due to face each other at St Mary’s, but a request from Newcastle to postpone the match due to COVID-19 cases and injuries was approved by the Premier League’s board.

We share the disappointment of our supporters in hearing this news and will confirm details of the rearranged fixture in due course. All tickets for the game will remain valid for the new date.’

Southampton Official Statement after Brentford home match postponed – 16 December 2021:

‘Southampton’s Premier League fixture against Brentford, due to take place on Saturday, has been postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak among the opposition’s squad.

Brentford FC have an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This has resulted in their training ground being closed which means they are unable to prepare for Saturday’s game.”

At this time, the club has no further knowledge of when this fixture is likely to take place, but will communicate to fans as soon as any new information is available.’

Even if only subtle, I think there is a big difference in the two statements. Southampton just accepting at face value that Brentford had been forced to postpone that match, whereas the statement regarding the NUFC game has a definite underlying edge to it.

There appears to be a general ongoing situation where so many people want to believe, or even state as supposed ‘fact’, that Newcastle United are somehow doing something underhand / outrageous, compared to seemingly every other club who has been forced to have a match(es) postponed. The idea appears to be that Newcastle United will have an all new team of Champions League level superstars signed in time for when any rearranged games will be played. This of course due to the presence of new hopefully ambitious owners, even though not one single signing has been officially announced to be happening, despite the window opening in a matter of hours. If Mike Ashley was still at NUFC and continuing to drag the club down, no doubt nobody would be interested / concerned.

If this was some brilliant cunning plan by the new NUFC owners to get as many games postponed as possible, they haven’t done a very good job of it. One of only four clubs to play all of their first 19 scheduled Premier League matches and even fulfilling fixtures right up to and including 27 December 2021, only four days ago. Before then of course, the number of postponed PL games was well into double figures.

As a Newcastle United fan, the whole thing is simply laughable. However, it is completely embarrassing if the likes of Southampton as a club, have indeed sunk to the level of the likes of Everton fans, so many of them humiliating themselves with claims of NUFC wrong doing and conspiracy theories.

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