Premier League and EFL WILL continue despite coronavirus lockdown as elite sport given green light

PREMIER LEAGUE chiefs received the news they needed from Boris Johnson: The show can go on.

The Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown on Monday night as the mutant Covid strains spread out of control.

But despite League bosses set to reveal on Tuesday there were a record number of positive tests among clubs last week, elite football received the green light to keep playing.

Prem chiefs had spent recent weeks liaising with the Government in a bid to ensure football was not shut down again.

Those fears abated after the Scottish Government expressly excluded 'those involved in professional sports, for training, coaching or competing in an event' from the 'stay at home' order, with the UK Government following suit.

The FA have also been assured the FA Cup is safe ahead of this weekend's third round fixtures.

But grassroots football and club’s academies at youth level and Under-18s will be stopped under the new rules..

Prem clubs have been hugely embarrassed by a spate of Christmas Covidiocy.

Spurs trio Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon, West Ham’s Manual Lanzini, Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, Crystal Palace skipper Luka Milivojevic and Manchester City full-back Benjamin Mendy have all been carpeted for breaching regulations.

The latest figures are expected to show a marked increase in positive tests following the outbreaks at Man City, Fulham and Sheffield United.

Last week there were 18 positive tests from 1,479 tests across the 20 clubs between December 21 and 28, the previous highest number recorded.

But it is anticipated that the latest seven-day figure will be over 30.

However, the confirmation that professional football has the go-ahead to continue — while all 'parks' sport, including youth matches, must stop — will still have been a significant relief.

Clubs will again be reminded of the need to adhere strictly to Covid protocols around training grounds and on matchdays.

Especially as there has been a 50 per cent rise in the number of patients in hospitals with Covid since Christmas Day, and in excess of 50,000 new infections each day across the UK.

SunSport revealed how League chief executive Richard Masters emailed all 20 clubs last week to reinforce the necessity of meeting the requirement brought in last June.

The Prime Minister’s new lockdown regulations came as Brentford boss Thomas Frank demanded identical Covid-19 testing guidelines across the Premier League and the EFL.

Prem players are currently tested twice a week but there are NO coronavirus-testing regulations in place in the EFL.

And Frank warned: “It’s very important the EFL, the Premier League and the FA find some kind of guidelines across the four leagues and the cup tournaments.

"If you don’t have consistency it will extend the season again and then we are into the Euros.”

Man City announced on Monday four of their women’s team have tested positive for coronavirus, while Sheffield Wednesday have closed their Middlewood Road training ground because of a Covid outbreak.

League One Oxford United have suspended two youth-team players after they allegedly broke Covid-19 rules to attend a New Year’s Eve party.

Oxford have launched an investigation and the pair could become the first British professional footballers to be sacked for breaching rules brought in to stop the spread of the virus.

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