Covid: Omicron variant disrupts Premier League

Tottenham's Premier League game with Brighton is postponed due to an outbreak

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Steven Gerrard says his Aston Villa players are to receive more information on Covid-19 protection as football attempts to prevent the new Omicron variant from disrupting the sport.

Sunday’s Premier League game between Brighton and Tottenham has been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Spurs camp.

“I had a conversation last night with (chief executive) Christian Purslow,” Villa boss Gerrard said ahead of his return to former club Liverpool on Saturday.

“He’s going to come down on Monday and address the players in more detail.

“But we have been told and warned that things are changing all the time. Just to be careful and look after ourselves.”

Meanwhile the former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith admits his new club Norwich City are "holding their breath" waiting on Covid-19 test results ahead of their Premier League clash against Manchester United at Carrow Road.

Tottenham beat the Canaries 3-0 on Sunday, and have since been hit by a coronavirus outbreak.

Smith feels none of the current concerns within the Norwich squad are linked to the Spurs game, but nevertheless faces an anxious wait to get confirmation if any of his players will be ruled out of the United match because of a positive confirmed PCR result.

“We have got a couple of knocks and have got a couple of Covid-related issues that we are waiting on results for this morning,” Smith said.

“I can’t really let you in on any names, but there’s a couple of players who who we are worried about, so we have tested and we will wait for the PCR results back on them.

“(They are) just feeling a little bit unwell, (but) not likely to be linked to the game last week with Tottenham.

“It is just in general, I think (like) with the whole nation of holding our breaths at the moment.”

Given the rising number of Covid cases driven by the Omicron variant, the Premier League has written to clubs to call for a step up in safety measures.

Tottenham’s Europa League Conference game with Rennes on Thursday was postponed after Spurs said up to 13 players and staff had been struck down by coronavirus, while Leicester have also lost several players to Covid-19.

Gerrard said: “I obviously sympathise with Antonio (Conte). It’s a concern for myself and every other manager.

“There was a situation here before I came and you’ve always got that lingering paranoia abut the what ifs.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard applauds fans
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard applauds fans

“It is a virus that has not gone. We’re not through the woods and it’s changing all the time.

“So you’ve got to be as careful as you can because you don’t want to be in a situation where you’re losing players, which obviously affects points.”

The football calendar took a huge hit as a result of the pandemic, with the end of the 2019/20 season being delayed due to the initial lockdown.

Figures released by Deloitte reveal the total revenue of Premier League clubs dropped by over half a billion pounds in the 2019/20 season as the average revenue per club reduced by £33 million - the first drop in total revenue in Premier League history.