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Premier League clubs must have a minimum of four positive coronavirus cases within their playing squad before requesting a postponement, according to new guidelines announced on Wednesday and taking effect next month.
Previously, teams had to show they did not have 13 senior players plus a goalkeeper available before asking for a game to be postponed. That also took into account factors such as injuries and players being on international duty.
There have been 22 postponements since the start of December, with some of them provoking fury as clubs appeared to be exploiting the rules to get games called off.
The league said it was continuing to adapt its guidance “in response to the wider public health situation.”
“The league’s postponement rules and guidance are designed to protect the wellbeing of players and staff,” the Premier League said, “while maintaining the sporting integrity of the competition and the quality of squads playing league matches.”
The guidance will come into effect after the game between Burnley and Watford on Feb. 5.
Burnley has been the club most affected by postponements and played only 18 games so far — at least two fewer than any other team in the league. First-place Manchester City, for example, has played 24 games.
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