Man Utd’s match at Brentford off due to Covid

Manchester United’s Premier League fixture away to Brentford on Tuesday night has been postponed due to a Covid outbreak among the visitors’ squad.

United made a request to the Premier League to postpone the fixture after being forced to close first-team operations at their Carrington training complex on Monday afternoon.

The club said they recorded a “small number” of positive Covid cases among first-team players and staff who took lateral flow tests on Sunday, a day after they beat Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road.

Those positive results were confirmed after PCR tests were undertaken on Monday, and those who have the virus are currently isolating.

A statement from United on Monday night read: “Given cancellation of training and disruption to the squad, and with the health of players and staff the priority, the club requested the match to be rearranged.

“The Premier League board took the decision to postpone based on guidance from medical advisors.

“Manchester United regrets the inconvenience caused to Brentford FC and to the fans of both clubs by Covid-19.”

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Norwich manager Dean Smith has urged all fans to get their Covid booster jabs so they can keep attending football matches.

United say the outbreak among their first team requires “ongoing surveillance”, while the match against Brentford will be rescheduled in “due course.”

A statement from Brentford added: “Following medical guidance, the Premier League board have postponed Tuesday night’s match against Manchester United due to the exceptional circumstances of an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak within the Manchester United squad.

“We appreciate that there will be many fans who will be inconvenienced with the fixture postponement and we apologise for the disruption, which was out of our control, but we respect the Premier League’s decision and acknowledge that the health and safety of both clubs’ players and staff must always come first.

“We wish everyone affected a speedy recovery and look forward to hosting Manchester United at the Brentford Community Stadium in the New Year.

“The rearranged match details will be confirmed and communicated in due course. All match tickets will remain valid for the rearranged fixture.”

Premier League records highest weekly Covid cases

On Monday, the Premier League announced 42 new positive coronavirus cases among club players and staff – the highest weekly figure recorded since the release of testing results began in May last year.

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Brighton chief executive Paul Barber is concerned rising cases of Covid-19 could lead to the return of empty stadiums at Premier League grounds.

As well as Manchester United seeing their game at Brentford postponed, Tottenham have been forced to call of their last two games after a Covid outbreak among their first team.

“The league can today confirm that between Monday, 6 December and Sunday, 12 December, 3,805 players and club staff were tested for Covid-19. Of these, there were 42 new positive cases,” the Premier League said in a statement.

Twelve cases were reported last week, but several other clubs – including Norwich and Aston Villa – have since announced a number of positive tests as concerns heighten nationally amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

The Premier League wrote to all of its clubs last Thursday instructing them to reinstate Covid-19 emergency measures, with testing of players and staff set to be increased.