Premier League clubs are said to have held informal talks over a two-week ‘cooling off’ break in January, to combat a significant recent spike in COVID-19 cases in football.

The news comes less than 24 hours after Manchester City called off their fixture with Everton due to ‘a number’ of cases were discovered in a round of pre-match testing.

Sheffield United have also announced several positive tests while Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl misses Tuesday’s visit of West Ham after someone in his household contracted the virus.

A Premier League high of 18 positive tests were recorded in the most recent round of routine of testing and many within football see a blanket postponement of fixtures as inevitable at some stage, especially given that the spike has coincided with the discovery of a new, more infectious strain of the virus in parts of England.

The Telegraph say that a two-week ‘cooling off’ break could come to pass as soon as January, with clubs already discussing the prospect ahead of the FA Cup third round fixtures, due to take place over the weekend of 9 January.

It’s said that various call-offs are expected as more and more positive cases come to light, with nine EFL matches already called off as a direct result of coronavirus.

It’s thought that the UK’s review of tiered restrictions, due to be announced on Wednesday 30 December, will shape discussions, but Premier League chairmen are coming round to the idea of nipping the situation in the bud now with a two-week break from football.

A temporary shutdown in January could prevent a much more damaging situation later in 2021. Medical experts predict that the rate of infection means that another prolonged break from football, similar to the one we saw between March and June, could be on the cards if action is not taken.

As things stand, all 32 FA Cup matches are due to go ahead, with all 64 clubs subjected to testing prior to kick-off.


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