Aston Villa vs Newcastle postponed as Steve Bruce's Toon squad hit by coronavirus outbreak

NEWCASTLE'S trip to Aston Villa on Friday has been postponed after the Toon squad was ravaged by a coronavirus outbreak.

The North East club had pleaded with Premier League chiefs to call off the game following a number of positive tests from staff members and the squad.


Prem rules stated that if their appeal was turned down they would have been forced to play. 

But their pleas have been granted, with a statement on Twitter reading: "NUFC's fixture at Aston Villa on Friday has been postponed following a significant increase in Covid-19 cases at the Magpies’ Training Centre.

"A new date and time for the game will be confirmed in due course."

A mass Covid outbreak has hit the Magpies squad, with up to 10 players believed to have tested positive. 

And there are fears that number could grow further, leaving Toon boss Steve Bruce with a severely depleted squad. 

Their request for a postponement was heard by the Premier League board today and granted.

The statement continued: “Newcastle United was one of the first clubs in the country to close its training ground prior to the first national lockdown in March and the club introduced comprehensive Covid-19 protocols in line with Premier League and government guidance to protect its players and staff ahead of Project Restart.

“While the club has continued to ensure strict adherence to these protocols, and despite previously experiencing only a very small number of isolated Covid-19 cases, positive test results have risen sharply in recent days.

PREMIER LEAGUE STATEMENT

Following a Premier League Board meeting today, Newcastle United’s fixture at Aston Villa, due to be played at 8pm Friday 4 December, has been postponed.

Newcastle lodged a request with the Premier League to rearrange the game following a significant increase in COVID-19 cases at the club which resulted in Public Health England North East (PHE) advising that their training facilities remain closed.

The Premier League Board agreed, as a consequence, that the club are unable to train and adequately and safely prepare for their match on Friday.

The decision has been taken in consultation with Newcastle United and Aston Villa, and following extensive consultation with PHE and Premier League medical advisors, with the health of players and staff the priority.

Newcastle correctly notified PHE regarding a number of positive COVID-19 test results, which is standard practice under Government and Premier League guidelines.

PHE convened a meeting with Newcastle and the Premier League yesterday to assess the situation and advised the club’s training ground should remain closed and no group training would be permitted between players until Friday at the earliest.

All players and training ground staff will be re-tested this week and another meeting between the club, PHE and the Premier League will take place to assess the test results.

The Premier League wishes those with COVID-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture against Aston Villa in due course.

“Accordingly, the club is now is working with Public Health England North East (PHE), local health authorities and the Premier League in line with Covid-19 protocols to identify the source of the outbreak and to ensure the risk of further transmission continues to be minimised.

“All players and training ground staff will be re-tested this week and a meeting between the club, Premier League and PHE will take place to assess the test results.

“The club will not be naming individuals who have contracted Covid-19 and asks that their privacy is respected.”

Bruce revealed three cases last Thursday – two players and one staff member – ahead of their 2-0 win at Crystal Palace. 

But they received two more positive tests over the weekend before a further unspecified number in the last 24 hours. 

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