Premier League players in tier four areas will be tested for Covid-19 twice a week, as soon as it is practically possible to do so.
Players in the top flight have been tested on a weekly basis since the start of the 2020-21 season. But testing at clubs in tier four areas will now revert to the level used during ‘Project Restart’ in the summer. The increased testing will be widened out to clubs in lower-tier areas from next month, it is understood.
The Government placed large parts of south-east and eastern England into tier four last weekend over fears of a new strain of the virus which is believed to be more transmissible.
The Premier League clubs currently in tier four are Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham.
The league’s latest figures were released on Monday night and showed there were seven positive cases out of 1,569 players and club staff tested.
Despite the increasing threat of a mutant strain and the suggestion of a further nationwide lockdown, former England and Manchester United star Gary Neville believes it would be nonsense to contemplate suspending Premier League football, especially given the success of ‘Project Restart’ during the summer.
He told Sky Sports: ‘I was a little bit nervous in lockdown about it coming back in the first instance. I didn’t feel we knew enough about what was going on.
‘But a big, massive well done to the Premier League for the way in which they’ve conducted a safe return.
‘It’s a nonsense now if football is ever suggested to be stopped. A number of players have had it (coronavirus), but football must continue. If you see construction, manufacturing… the shops are still open.’
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