Carlisle United's next three games called off due to Covid concerns

Carlisle United’s next three fixtures have been called off due to coronavirus concerns.

The upcoming matches against Mansfield Town (Saturday 16 January), Leyton Orient (Tuesday 19 January) and Forest Green Rovers (Saturday 23 January) have been suspended, the EFL confirmed.

The club informed the EFL that they would be unable to fulfil the fixtures 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.

The Blues next three matches have been called off Credit: PA

In a statement on CUFC's website, it says revised dates for the rearranged fixtures will be confirmed in due course.

The cases come from tests conducted earlier this week, before the Harrogate fixture, and also arising this morning following the latest round of testing, ahead of the next game. All players who have tested positive and others affected from close contact are now in a period of isolation in line with EFL and Government requirements.

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens

"The position has deteriorated quickly this week and, after consulting with the EFL medical team this morning, it was decided that, following this outbreak, the way forward is to cease all football activities immediately.

"The club’s football training activities will now close, and will only reopen when it is safe to resume. The safety of our players and staff is paramount, as well as their families and other participants in our upcoming games.

"The club would like to wish all our players who have returned a positive test a safe and speedy recovery."

The Football Association and the English Football League have also reminded clubs involved in their competitions about the protocols after some notable breaches in recent weeks.

Elite footballers breaching Covid protocols with hugging celebrations branded 'brainless'.

Mansfield Town players congratulate each other at the end of the Sky Bet League Two match at Oldham. Credit: PA

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch warned its clubs they were “under the microscope” as never before on Monday.

The government has given professional sport the go-ahead to continue, despite many other areas of life being placed under heavy restrictions in a new national lockdown.

The news comes as health officials in Cumbria announced the county had experienced it worst week for new Covid-19 infections in the pandemic so far.

3,489 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the week ending 8 January – a 39% rise on the previous week.

Infections rates are high across the county, especially in Carlisle where the infection rate was 1,151 per 100,000 population.