Happy Christmas, everyone! Fully a third of the annual festive Premier League matches on Boxing Day are now postponed due to outbreaks of COVID-19 cases within matchday squads. Will Tottenham Hotspur’s scheduled match against Crystal Palace survive?
At this point, it’s unclear. In a press conference on Friday, Palace manager Patrick Viera admitted that there were “a couple” of positive cases within the squad, a situation described as “worrying” due to the hugely virulent nature of the omicron variant.
“We hope that we are going to be OK, but when you are looking at the number of cases around we are started to be worried. We had a couple of cases in the football club in the last few days.
“We have tried our best to prevent all these kinds of situations but it is worrying. The evolution for the next couple of days we don’t know how it will go.”
Yeah. They have every right to be worried. If background reports are to be believed, this is pretty much how Spurs’ recent outbreak went — a couple of positive tests followed by a slew of them as the virus circulated around the playing squad and coaching staff. Spurs’ outbreak peaked at nine players out, plus an undisclosed number of U23 players, coaches, and support staff.
One would assume that Palace will be vigorously testing and implementing COVID mitigation practices in light of Spurs’ outbreak as well as what’s been happening at other clubs. And that’s not to say that this means the match will be called off again.
But it COULD, and Spurs should probably be prepared for that possibility. And add Viera to the list of managers frustrated that the Premier League still doesn’t have a clear plan about how and when to postpone matches for COVID-19.
“We understand the Covid situation and some teams have been hit by it but every club is different. There’s no clear guidance of rules about why those games have been cancelled. We may need to have more information about what is going on. You will have teams playing three games and some teams playing none. It’s not clear enough.”
Like with everything else right now, we’ll just have to wait and see. Spurs are currently scheduled to host Palace at 10 a.m. ET / 3 p.m. BST. The match is set to be televised on USA Network in the USA and BT Sport 1 in the UK.