Premier League reject postponement plea of Leicester City amid COVID-19 scare

London, United KingdomUpdated: Dec 15, 2021, 10:19 PM IST
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Leicester were without seven players for last week's 3-2 defeat to Napoli which saw them bow out of the Europa League and a 4-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday.

Leicester had a request to postpone Thursday's clash with Tottenham due to a coronavirus outbreak turned down by the Premier League, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, Rodgers said he will be without nine players due to positive cases of Covid, illness and injury.

Tottenham's last two matches, against Rennes in the Europa Conference League and Brighton in the Premier League, have been called off due to an outbreak that saw at least eight players and five staff test positive.

Manchester United's trip to Brentford, scheduled for Tuesday, was also postponed due to multiple cases in the United camp.

"We have looked at it but unfortunately for us we weren't granted dispensation," said Rodgers.

"As a team and a club we have always wanted to support all the measures but when we need a little support with the extreme situation we find ourselves in we weren't able to get it."

Leicester were without seven players for last week's 3-2 defeat to Napoli which saw them bow out of the Europa League and a 4-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday.

Rodgers said the extra absentees from the weekend were injury related rather than further coronavirus cases.

But the Northern Irishman believes the injuries were caused by fatigue with his squad stretched due to the Covid outbreak.

"There was a big doubt for the game against Newcastle on Sunday, but for the greater good of the game and for the supporters it went ahead," added Rodgers.

"Since then we have picked up more injuries. They are not Covid-related but they are because players are picking up injuries because we can't rotate the team and the squad because of the number of players we already have out."

Rodgers has joined an increasing band of Premier League managers seeking clarity on how many positive cases are required for a match to be postponed.

The Premier League have so far accepted or rejected requests for postponements on a case-by-case basis.

Tottenham face a fixture backlog as their final Premier League match before the outbreak at Burnley was also postponed due to bad weather.

Spurs boss Antonio Conte said he would also have preferred the game to be postponed, but believes the potential fixture pile up was behind the Premier League's reasoning.

"The Premier League did not want to postpone the game against Leicester," said the Italian. "Maybe because we have to play Burnley and Brighton and had postponed two games before."

Conte will have some of his players who tested positive back available for selection at the King Power, but said he cannot start them due to the impact of the virus and self-isolation on their fitness.

"(Some) players are back in training and other players continue to be isolated. For the players back in training they need a bit of time to be fit and find again a good physical condition," Conte added.

"When you have Covid is not only 10 days, with this virus you make your body not so strong. For this reason you have to go slowly."