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    QPR vs Wycombe SUSPENDED following coronavirus outbreak in visitors’ squad as Covid continues to disrupt football

    WYCOMBE’S trip to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday has been postponed following a coronavirus outbreak.
    The Wanderers have returned a number of positive test results on the eve of the Championship match.

    Wycombe have confirmed an outbreak of coronavirus cases in their squadCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    And EFL bosses had no choice but to call off the game at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
    On Friday morning, a statement was released announcing the clash had been ‘suspended’.
    Wycombe confirmed: “The Club informed the EFL that they would be unable to fulfil the fixture following recent positive COVID-19 tests and the requirement for players and staff to self-isolate as per EFL and Government guidance in order to mitigate against the risk of further infection.
    “The circumstances surrounding the postponements will now be the subject of an investigation in accordance with EFL Regulations.

    “Revised dates for the rearranged fixture will be confirmed in due course.”
    The game is the second to be called off in the Championship this weekend after Brentford’s trip to Reading was also postponed.

    QPR have already had one game knocked back, with a trip to Luton rearranged for Tuesday night and a 2-0 win secured by new signing Charlie Austin.
    Only 31 EFL clubs returned zero positive test results in last week’s round of testing, which showed 123 cases of the virus.

    League Two leaders Carlisle have seen games against Mansfield, Leyton Orient and Forest Green called off following an outbreak in their camp.
    However, Derby were given the all-clear to return to training on Tuesday after a spate of cases in their squad.
    The Rams were one of a handful of teams to put out a youth side in the FA Cup last weekend, as they lost 2-0 to non-league Chorley.
    Aston Villa also fielded kids against Liverpool amid a series of postponements in their Premier League schedule.

    Games against Tottenham and Everton have been suspended as the pandemic bit hard on Dean Smith’s side.
    Football bosses are demanding increased flexibility from clubs to fit matches in, with Fulham’s postponed match at Tottenham rearranged at short notice in midweek.
    Leeds’ game with Southampton has also been moved around, to allow Saints to play Shrewsbury in the FA Cup after the League One side suffered an outbreak.
    Public Health England announced 1,248 deaths from coronavirus across the UK on Thursday with 48,682 new cases.

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    Premier League clubs to miss out on millions with 2021/22 pre-season tours axed for second summer in row due to Covid

    PREMIER LEAGUE sides have reportedly accepted that pre-season tours around the world won’t happen this summer due to coronavirus.
    It will be the second summer in a row that the money-spinners are shelved as the pandemic rages on.


    Manchester United have reportedly shelved plans for a pre-season tourCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    MailOnline reports that ‘tours are already off the agenda’, with there even being concerns around trips within the UK.
    The government is rolling out a huge vaccination programme with it hoped that by mid-July ‘huge numbers of the UK population will be vaccinated’.
    But there are still worries that travel restrictions will remain in place.

    Premier League clubs are set to miss out on millions in merchandise and TV deals from games around the globe.
    And Mailonline adds that they could be hit with ‘penalty payments’ for being unable to honour deals with sponsors.
    Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool all had to cancel plans to travel last summer.
    That means fans in India, Asia, the US and South Africa missed out on the chance of seeing their Premier League heroes.

    Meanwhile, in light of the Covid-19 wave sweeping the UK, Premier League stars have been ordered to PRACTISE socially-distanced goal celebrations in training.

    Manchester United fans in Asia won’t get the chance to see their heroes liveCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Chelsea might be able to tour the British Isles at bestCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has warned his squad to cut out the hugging.
    And Manchester United ace Paul Pogba says players will ‘find another way to celebrate’ to comply with the strict new Covid rules.
    Club captains and managers had meetings with PL chiefs on Thursday amid alarm over players ignoring social distancing when celebrating goals.
    And the Premier League, FA and EFL have now released a joint statement warning football to ‘set the right example to the public on and off the pitch’ in helping tackle the pandemic.

    Manchester United’s players won’t get the chance to sample different cultures on tours this summerCredit: Getty Images – Getty

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    James McClean suspended by Stoke over alleged coronavirus rules breach and will miss Blackburn clash

    STOKE have suspended Republic of Ireland international James McClean over an alleged breach of coronavirus rules.
    The winger will miss Saturday’s Championship clash against Blackburn while the club launch an investigation.

    James McClean will miss Stoke’s game this weekend over an alleged rule breachCredit: Alamy Live News

    A Stoke statement read: “We can confirm James McClean has been suspended with immediate effect pending a disciplinary hearing into an alleged breach of Covid-19 regulations, namely training in a private gym.
    “As a result of the suspension, McClean will not be available for selection for Saturday’s game against Blackburn Rovers.”
    McClean, 31, has been a regular in Stoke’s play-off push this campaign.
    In 21 appearances, he has contributed two goals and two assists.

    The Potters travel to Ewood Park on Saturday knowing a win could take them into the top six.
    McClean’s absence may be less keenly felt given Stoke’s recent additions to their flanks.

    Schalke youngster Rabbi Matondo and Tottenham’s Jack Clarke have both arrived on loan this month.
    Clarke is set to make his debut at Blackburn after Matondo came off the bench in the 4-0 FA Cup defeat to Leicester.

    Welsh left-back Rhys Norrington-Davies has also arrived from Sheffield United having spent the first half of the campaign at Luton.

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    Premier League stars ordered to PRACTISE socially-distanced goal celebrations amid coronavirus pandemic

    PREMIER LEAGUE stars have been ordered to PRACTISE socially-distanced goal celebrations in training.
    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will today warn his squad to cut out the hugging.

    Clubs have been asked to ensure players practise socially-distanced celebrations Credit: AP:Associated Press

    And Manchester United ace Paul Pogba says players will ‘find another way to celebrate’ to comply with the strict new Covid rules.
    Club captains and managers had meetings with PL chiefs on Thursday amid alarm over players ignoring social distancing when celebrating goals.
    And the Premier League, FA and EFL have now released a joint statement warning football to ‘set the right example to the public on and off the pitch’ in helping tackle the pandemic.
    West Brom boss Sam Allardyce wants MPs to stay out of football and focus instead on rolling out life-saving vaccines.

    But in the ‘hugging summit’ meetings, clubs were told to toe the line – or risk the Government locking down football.
    Premier League chiefs urged stars to come up with socially-distanced celebrations.
    It was even suggested players spend time on the training ground working out ‘safe’ routines.
    Some players are understood to be uncomfortable with the instructions.

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    Players are being urged to keep their distance while celebrating on the pitchCredit: AFP

    And one skipper asked: “What’s the difference between hugging in a goal celebration and marking tightly at a corner?”
    Lampard will hammer home the message ahead of tomorrow’s Fulham trip after Blues’ academy was shut due to an outbreak.
    He said: “It’s something I will pass on. We practise social distancing at the training ground.
    “On the pitch it can be difficult, because you have to get close to each other.
    “These protocols have been hardened – and I understand why because there’s a surge of Covid.
    “But when you are playing there’s a lot of instinct involved.
    “They are good lads, they don’t want to do the wrong thing. They are doing their job through this tough time.”

    Players will be told to practise celebrating safely during gamesCredit: AP:Associated Press
    Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston warned on Twitter: “Footballers are no exception to social distancing requirements”.
    And Pogba told Sky Sports: “We’ll find another way to celebrate and be happy.
    “We have to respect these rules for the safety of everyone.”
    Premier League chief exec Richard Masters, Wembley’s Mark Bullingham and EFL counterpart Trevor Birch stressed: “Safety is a collective effort.
    “The game has a responsibility and it is down to everyone to follow Government rules and our Covid-19 protocols.”
    But Allardyce blasted: “We don’t need any more Government interference.
    “They’ve got enough on their plate rolling out the vaccine and getting everyone safe.
    “The Government should instead look at people who are still partying while this virus is spreading like wildfire.”

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    Referees charity wants FA to BAN players from coming within two metres of officials amid growing Covid fears

    A REFEREE charity has urged the FA to ban footballers coming within two metres off officials.
    Refsupport UK has called on football chiefs to implement the tougher rule in a bid to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus on the pitch.

    A referee charity has called on the FA to ban players from coming within two metres of officialsCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Football stars have already been asked not to celebrate in groups after scoring in a bid to lower the spread risk.
    But with officials seemingly forgotten about when considering on-field social distancing rules, the ref charity have called for change.
    Refsupportuk tweeted: “It would be brilliant if the FA could also state that players should not intentionally be within two metres of a match official.
    “There is no reason whatsoever for a player to be intentionally that close to a match official.”

    The suggestion has reportedly been put to the FA but it has not developed beyond that stage yet.
    It came after minister for sport Nigel Huddleston MP suggested footballers should not be given special treatment as the country battles against the deadly virus.
    He tweeted: “Everyone in the country has had to change the way they interact with people and ways of working.
    “Footballers are no exception. Covid secure guidelines exist for football.


    It would be brilliant if the @FAalso state that players should not intentionally be within 2 meters of a match official. There is no reason whatsoever for a player to be intentionally that close to a match official.
    — Refsupportuk (@refsupportuk) January 13, 2021

    “Footballers must follow them and football authorities enforce them – strictly.”
    Huddleston’s message came after Premier League chief executive Richard Masters sent a letter to all 20 top flight clubs reminding them of ‘the critical importance of adhering’ to strict Covid protocols.
    He also told clubs ‘handshakes, high fives and hugs must be avoided’.
    Despite the new guidelines, Sheffield United’s players celebrated in a group after they scored their winner against Newcastle on Tuesday.
    And Fulham’s players hugged and high-fived after they equalised against Tottenham on Wednesday.
    This latest development comes after Aston Villa’s clash with Everton on Sunday was postponed as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc with the season.
    The Villans had to play their Under-23 side in the FA Cup last week against Liverpool after a host of positive test results forced them to close their training ground.
    Now Villa will be without a game this weekend again after top-flight chiefs confirmed their game with the Toffees was off.
    A Premier League statement said: “Aston Villa’s home match against Everton, scheduled to be played on Sunday 17 January at 12:00 GMT, has been postponed by the Premier League Board.
    “Following the rescheduling of Villa’s fixture against Tottenham Hotspur, which was due to be played last night, a significant number of players and staff remain in isolation.
    “As a result, the Premier League Board has agreed to Aston Villa’s request to postpone their match on Sunday.” Covid-19 test figures saw 36 positive results across the 20 top flight clubs. 

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    Premier League captains and managers will hold ‘hugging summit’ with league chiefs in bid to keep season going

    PREM captains and managers will hold a ‘hugging summit’ with League chiefs today – in a bid to fend off calls for a shutdown.
    Growing criticism over players’ goal celebrations have reached Governmental level with Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston making a public warning.

    Premier League stars will be told again today to stop the huggingCredit: AP:Associated Press

    Prem chiefs are concerned that a widespread backlash could put the entire game on the backfoot and make the prospect of an enforced pause more serious
    And while there is no current Government push for the game to be temporarily closed as the mutant strains of the virus spread, the emergency virtual meeting will address all the issues.
    England skipper Harry Kane’s vow that the Spurs players would not hug after a goal was kept to during the draw with Fulham, although Jose Mourinho’s men did high-five each other.
    But Manchester City hugged en masse after Phil Foden’s winner against Brighton.

    That followed similar scenes on Tuesday night.
    Now all clubs have been summoned for today’s virtual gatherings, involving separate meetings with skippers and managers.
    Prem leaders will reiterate the message that Covid protocols MUST be followed to the letter.
    Those rules have already been sent out to all clubs.


    But the feeling is that by getting the captains and managers to pass on the gravity of the situation, it will bring restraint to head off the threat to the Prem.
    It is understood that the meetings were scheduled by the Prem at the beginning of the week, rather than being a response to the scenes of the past few days.
    But those incidents have intensified the need for action and players and managers will be left in no doubt of the requirement for all Prem stars to follow the rules to the letter.

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    Brighton to use Amex Stadium as Covid-19 vaccinator volunteers training centre amid Jabs Army call to arms

    BRIGHTON are to use their Amex stadium as a training centre for Covid-19 vaccinator volunteers this weekend.
    The volunteers will be trained by St John’s Ambulance to administer the vaccine across Sussex as new NHS vaccination centres come online.

    The Amex is being put to good use by Brighton during the pandemicCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Albion chief executive Paul Barber said: “We are delighted to be able to help with the national effort to get the population vaccinated by providing several of our hospitality areas for socially distanced vaccination training for local volunteers. 
    “We have space inside the Amex for St John Ambulance personnel to safely deliver training to approximately 200 volunteers this weekend, who are then ready to go into the community to administer the vaccine across Sussex.
    “We have been committed to supporting the NHS, St John Ambulance and other key healthcare workers in any way we can throughout the pandemic.
    “As we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel, we will do everything we possibly can to support the national effort to get there.”

    In April the Amex was used as a mass testing centre, with capacity to test up to 1500 people per day.
    The stadium and training facility have been used by the NHS for storage and training purposes.
    The Seagulls travel to Leeds on Saturday and don’t play at home again until the following weekend.
    Graham Potter’s side host Blackpool in the FA Cup on Saturday January 23, allowing plenty of time for volunteers to be trained.

    How to sign up

    VOLUNTEERS for the Jabs Army are being asked to first register online at
    You will then receive an email with log-in details to sign up online.
    Finally, you will be asked to download the GoodSAM app on a smartphone which will match you to a role in your area.
    Services will be opening in the coming days and weeks, with different areas up and running at different times, so you might not be required on site for some weeks. Not everyone who signs up will need to be called upon.
    You need to commit to only two six-hour shifts a month at a vaccination service, and no prior experience or qualifications are required.
    You will work as part of a team that will include NHS staff and volunteers. The Royal Voluntary Service will conduct appropriate background checks.
    Go to

    Brighton’s offer comes amid The Sun’s Jabs Army appeal, which calls for volunteers to get involved with the vaccination programme.
    Telly favourite Jeremy Clarkson is the latest star to urge readers to sign up for our Jabs Army — and cure their own lockdown blues.
    Visiting a vaccination centre, he said: “Everyone is saying how bored they are. They’ve watched Netflix, gone through everything on the internet, read Google.
    “Well let’s not be bored — let’s get off our bottoms and volunteer.”
    Sign up at

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    Aston Villa to beg Premier League to axe Everton clash at weekend with NINE positive coronavirus cases in first team

    ASTON VILLA are to ask the Premier League to postpone Sunday’s clash with Everton.
    At least nine first-team players tested positive for Covid-19 and have been isolating since Thursday.

    Dean Smith’s Aston Villa want their game against Everton on Sunday postponedCredit: PA

    Dean Smith and Co played their kids in a 4-1 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool on Friday.
    Under-23s boss Mark Delaney took charge at Villa Park against a strong Reds side which included Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson.
    However, the Villans called off tonight’s scheduled game against Tottenham.
    Villa’s Bodymoor Heath base remains closed and the Midlanders are set to make a formal request to Premier League chiefs today.

    The Everton clash was originally meant to go ahead at 5.30pm on Saturday.
    However, it was pushed back to Sunday at noon because Fulham’s game with Chelsea moved from Friday night to the Saturday evening slot.
    Cottagers boss Scott Parker fumed after his side were given 48 hours to prepare to face Spurs tonight – but got no sympathy from Tottenham counterpart Jose Mourinho.
    Their game was postponed from December 30 after a coronavirus outbreak at the West London club.


    Parker raged: “To confirm a (Wednesday) Premier League game at 9:30 on Monday morning is scandalous.
    “It is not about the fixture. I accept we have to play, but it is the notice. 
    “Maybe the people in these places making these decisions don’t understand how you manage teams and manage players.
    “To have a game called on with 48 hours’ notice, Jose will know too well that you plan structures and physical elements to players and what you do in the week and how you play for one game or another.
    “Tottenham knew they had a fixture. His team selection at the weekend suggested that. He will have planned for that with his team selection.
    “It is wrong. I am disappointed and angry. It is not right for numerous reasons. That is why I am so angry.”
    But Mourinho hit back: “Are you serious?
    “I had the news I was not going to play them two hours before the game started.

    I could ask why Aston Villa played Liverpool on Friday and don’t play against me on Wednesday. I’m not crying about that.
    Jose Mourinho

    “Do you want to finish the season or not? Do you want football to keep going or not? Do you want to be the only country in Europe without football or not?
    “Do we want the end of the season with champions, cup winners, relegation and with Europe, or we don’t? That’s the main question.
    “Come on, let’s play football. Let’s behave the best we can. Let’s protect our industry. Let’s protect our image and let’s play football.
    “I could also ask why Aston Villa played Liverpool in the Cup on Friday and don’t play against me on Wednesday. I’m not crying about that.”

    Villa’s kids put up a valiant effort against a strong Liverpool team on FridayCredit: Reuters

    Jose Mourinho’s Spurs will play their rearranged game against Fulham tonight instead of facing VillaCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

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