Multiplication of positive cases, gauges, reports … European football caught up by the Covid
Cascading positive cases, matches postponed, 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 that 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.
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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. FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid: the three major players in La Liga have all recorded numerous cases in recent days. Nine 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 and Daniel Alves.
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Real Madrid announced Thursday the positivity of four players: Thibaut Courtois, Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Vinicius, while eight others had already tested positive since mid-December. 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.
Cluster in Angers
In Angers, 11th in the French Championship, they are 19 to be positive! The situation is such that the club have requested the postponement of their 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.
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On Wednesday, Lorient had indicated that five of its players, whose names were not disclosed, were positive. If Angers, Lyon and Lorient, all already eliminated, are not concerned by the 16th of the Coupe de France this weekend, the teams still in the running risk approaching their match with a reduced squad or having to give it up. The Cup health protocol established by the French Football Federation does not provide for postponement in the event of a cluster in a club, the latter being declared forfeit if it cannot align a sufficient workforce.
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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