Manchester United are the latest club to suffer an outbreak of Covid-19, with the club cancelling all first-team training and in talks with the Premier League over whether their midweek game with Brentford will go ahead.
A number of players and staff returned positive lateral flow tests on Sunday morning and were sent home from training.
There are now fears the outbreak could spread even further, with the club shutting their first-team operations Carrington base and deciding against travelling to London ahead of the scheduled fixture with Brentford on Tuesday, which is now in serious doubt.
What has been said?
A club statement on Monday afternoon read: “Manchester United can confirm that following confirmation of yesterday’s positive Covid-19 cases among the first-team staff and players, the decision has been taken to close down first-team operations at the Carrington Training Complex for 24 hours, to minimise risk of any further infection. Individuals who tested positive are isolating per Premier League protocols.
“Given cancellation of training and disruption to the squad, and with the health of players and staff the priority, the club is in discussion with the Premier League whether it is safe for Tuesday’s fixture against Brentford to continue, both from a covid infection and player preparation perspective. Team and staff travel to London will be deferred pending the result of that discussion.”
What do we know?
GOAL understands the whole group who travelled to Norwich on Saturday tested negative in the latest round of routine tests.
However, a fresh round of lateral flow testing on Sunday morning returned a small number of positive tests among players and staff.
Those who had tested positive were subsequently sent home, with the Premier League informed of the situation.
Those who remained trained outdoors with the training schedule adjusted to individual and non-contact sessions.
In July, the club had a Covid scare when nine players and staff recorded positive lateral flow tests which forced the cancellation of a pre-season friendly against Preston North End.
Consequent PCR tests came back negative and the initial results were deemed false positives.
Will Man Utd’s game vs Brentford be postponed?
GOAL can confirm the decision to postpone the fixture against Brentford on Tuesday lies with the Premier League board.
The Premier League is working closely with clubs monitoring the Covid situations within each team and would only consider calling off a game if a team requested a postponement. It is understood the Premier League wrote to clubs last week to ask them to return to emergency measures which were first introduced when clubs returned to training after the initial outbreak of Covid last year.
United are in ongoing discussions over Tuesday night’s game and it is too early to say whether or not their game against Brighton at Old Trafford on Saturday will be affected.
News of this latest outbreak comes after Tottenham’s Europa Conference League tie against Rennes on Thursday was cancelled after 13 Spurs players and staff tested positive for the virus.
Sunday’s Premier League match against Brighton was also called off as a precaution.