Everton’s trip to Burnley is the THIRD Premier League Boxing Day fixture axed as Covid and injuries leave Rafa Benitez with an ‘insufficient’ amount of players… despite chiefs REJECTING the Toffees’ first request to call game off
- Burnley have seen their home game against Everton on Boxing Day postponed
- The Premier League had initially rejected the Toffees’ request to axe the fixture
- ‘Further injuries’ have left Everton with ‘insufficient’ players to fulfil the match
- It joins Leeds against Liverpool and Wolves against Watford in being shelved
Everton have had their Boxing Day trip to Burnley postponed by the Premier League due to a mass Covid outbreak in the Toffees’ squad.
Leeds against Liverpool land Wolves against Watford had already been scrapped from the Boxing Day schedule following a high number of cases at Leeds and at Watford.
Everton boss Rafa Benitez hit out at the Premier League on Thursday after they denied his side’s request to postpone their visit to Burnley. The league have since reneged on that decision and allowed the game to be postponed.
What is does do is leave Sean Dyche’s Burnley will a worrying fixture pile-up as they will look at four games in hand having seen home matches against Tottenham, Everton and Watford postponed, as well as a visit to Aston Villa.
Rafa Benitez has his wish granted as Everton’s Boxing Day trip to Burnley has been postponed
In a statement the Premier League said: ‘The Premier League Board has this morning regrettably approved Everton’s request to postpone their Boxing Day away fixture at Burnley.
‘Everton were due to travel to Turf Moor to play on Sunday, at 15:00 GMT. The Board reviewed the club’s request today to postpone the match following further injuries to their squad.
‘They concluded that the club will not be able to fulfil their fixture this weekend as a result of an insufficient number of players available to play due to COVD-19 cases and injuries.’
It was detailed that the decision has been made in advance to ‘give clarity to clubs and their fans’.
Everton drew away at Chelsea in their last league match but will now have Boxing Day off
In a bid to combat a high volume of postponements – there have now been 13 in the Premier League – league chiefs reintroduced emergency protocol.
These measures include more frequent testing, wearing face masks indoors, observing social distancing and limiting treatment time on site for players.
This week teams have been told that if they have 13 fit players and a goalkeeper their games will go ahead – but there have been a number of cancellations in recent weeks.
Everton, since having their first bid to get the game postponed, have seen more players go down and it has left an ‘insufficient’ number left to play the match.
Benitez was preparing for the Burnley game without five unnamed players who contracted Covid in the last seven days — as well as two of his staff — plus the injured Richarlison, Yerry Mina, Andros Townsend, Tom Davies, Salomon Rondon and Cenk Tosun.
It represents particular bad luck for Burnley with three of their home matches postponed already this season, leading to a fixture pile-up in 2022.
The Premier League had already agreed to postpone Liverpool’s clash against Leeds and Wolves vs Watford after outbreaks in Marcelo Bielsa and Claudio Ranieri’s squads
Three of Burnley’s four postponements have been due to take place at their Turf Moor ground
First it was Tottenham’s visit on November 28 that was called off due to a blizzard leaving the pitch unplayable.
Then, on December 15, Watford’s trip to Burnley was abandoned two hours before kick-off due to a Covid outbreak in their squad leaving them with insufficient players.
A Covid outbreak in Aston Villa’s ranks caused that visit to Villa Park to be postponed.
Burnley are in the relegation zone, sitting 18th with 11 points from 15 matches.
Dyche’s side, who last played on December 12, have managed just one league win this season and a fixture pile-up will not help in their fight against relegation.