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Paris (AFP) – Cascading positive cases, postponed matches, gauges or even behind closed doors: the Europe of football, Spain in the lead, suffers the full brunt of the upsurge of Covid-19 which threatens to paralyze the beginning of the year 2022.
The pandemic does not know the truce. While some European countries are preparing to return to the field in the league or in the cup, the number of players and coaches testing positive has continued to increase in recent days.
If the holidays, conducive to gatherings and relaxation can explain this outbreak at the time of the recovery, it is above all the extreme contagiousness of the Omicron variant which is at the origin of this situation.
. « Boxing Day » disrupted
The English Championship, which did not relax, was one of the first affected as Great Britain was overwhelmed by this new wave.
Sixteen Premier League matches have been postponed in recent weeks. If the sacrosanct « Boxing Day » of December 26 did take place, it was however cut off from three meetings.
In England, fans were able to watch the matches, but closed doors have returned to Wales and very limited gauges have been set in Scotland.
By early December, the effects had already been felt when Tottenham lost on the green carpet their scheduled Europa League match against Rennes in London due to numerous cases of Covid.
. La Liga greats affected
It is the turn of Spain, where the championship resumes this weekend, to be particularly affected by the pandemic. FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid: the three major players in La Liga have all recorded numerous cases in recent days.
Ten players are now positive at Barça after the announcement Thursday of three new contaminations, those of Sergino Dest, Philippe Coutinho and Ez Abde. They are added to those of Ousmane Dembélé, Clément Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Gavi, Alejandro Balde and Dani Alves.
Real Madrid have reported five positive players: Thibaut Courtois, Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga, Vinicius and Luka Jovic, while eight others had already tested positive since mid-December, including Luka Modric.
At neighbor and rival Atletico, four players Antoine Griezmann, Koke, Joao Felix, Hector Herrera and coach Diego Simeone are positive, club colchonero reported.
Atletico must meet Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, but the match is compromised since this other Madrid club has for its part 17 positive players according to the Spanish press, which would make it the La Liga club the most weakened by this wave of contamination.
. Clusters in Angers and Bordeaux
In Bordeaux, which is due to go to Brest for the Coupe de France on Sunday, 21 players are unavailable due to the Covid. « Why want to maintain – at all costs – the holding of this meeting when 16 of our players are placed in solitary confinement? » ask the Girondins in a press release.
If the health protocol in the Cup does not provide for postponement in the event of a cluster in a club, Bordeaux explains, however, that it continues to « dialogue with the French Football Federation to consider the best possible solutions in order to avoid offering a show that would not be worthy of the Coupe de France « .
The Angers club, 11th in the French Championship, where 19 positive cases were announced Thursday, asked him to postpone his Ligue 1 match scheduled for January 9 against Saint-Etienne. Of these 19 cases, « more than 10 will not be allowed to play a match before January 10, 2022, » explained the Angevin team when training resumed.
In Lyon, the star of the team Lucas Paqueta announced Thursday on his Instagram account that he had tested positive, while he had gone to spend the holidays with his family in Dubai. In addition to the Brazilian midfielder, other players are positive, AFP learned from OL, without the club specifying the number or identity. New tests will be carried out on Friday. A decision will also be made on whether or not to hold an internship planned in Murcia, Spain, from January 1 to 5.
On Wednesday, Lorient had indicated that five of its players, whose names were not disclosed, were positive.
In Italy, the Covid resulted in the postponement of the Serie A Udinese-Salernitana match scheduled for December 21 and that of December 19 between Monza and Benevento in Serie B. On Thursday, the Napoli club announced that its Nigerian striker from Napoli Victor Osimhen was positive.
An umpteenth case in this endless wave affecting European football.
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