Premier League postponements: List of fixtures as Brighton boss questions whether play should halt

Brighton and Hove Albion's Alexis Mac Allister looks dejected after the Premier League match at AMEX Stadium, Brighton. Picture date: Wednesday December 15, 2021.
Brighton and Hove Albion's Alexis Mac Allister after the Premier League match at AMEX Stadium on Wednesday. Credit: PA

Top Premier League figures are calling for clarity and 'fairness' as a string of matches across the country are cancelled due to Covid outbreaks.

Brighton and Hove Albion's Manchester United clash on Saturday was the first to be called off due to Covid issues before a further four games followed suit.

A growing number of postponements across several divisions in the run-up to Christmas is sparking calls to suspend play as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly across the UK.

Brighton boss Graham Potter revealed on Thursday the Premier League had turned down a request from his club for Wednesday evening’s clash with Wolves – which resulted in a 1-0 loss – to be postponed.

Commenting on the disruptions, Potter said: “We all want football to continue, want life to continue as best as we can but clearly health is the most important thing.

“We’ve got some issues ourselves and this week has been a little bit disturbing in terms of how quickly we’ve been affected.

“If that carries on then we’ll have to have some serious thought (about action being suspended).”

Three Boxing Day fixtures in England's south are still set to go ahead, despite Reading's match with Luton being postponed, along with Southampton's Brentford clash, and Brighton's Manchester United game.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank led the calls for all games in the top flight to be called off following a growing series of postponements.

Which fixtures are postponed?

Among the growing list of casualties for Saturday, December 18, with Southampton vs. Brentford postponed, following the Brighton vs. Man Utd rain-check.

The Reading vs Luton Town Sky Bet Championships clash on Saturday was also been postponed.

Saturday's Championships League One fixture Gillingham vs. Crewe Alexander is also postponed, along with League Two matches Crawley Town vs. Oldham Athletic, and Swindon vs. Walsall.

A Brighton and Hove Albion fan sings in the stands. Credit: PA

Apologising for the postponement, a Swindon club spokesman confirmed the team had been hit by a Covid outbreak and had asked for the game to be postponed.

Swindon apologised to fans on both sides for the inconvenience, and was among clubs rushing to issue new guidance on fixture dates and refund policies to ticket-holders as matches were rescheduled.

Which matches are still going ahead?Some southern men's football sides' matches in play, with three Boxing Day fixtures set to go ahead at this stage.

Championships rivals Bournemouth and Middlesbrough are still set for a clash on December 26.

Boxing Day Championships League One matches Wimbledon vs. Portsmouth, and Oxford United vs. Wigan also still have the green light.

What are the postponement rules?

The Premier League has said that its board would evaluate applications for postponement on a “case-by-case basis”.

“It will assess a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the COVID-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match,” read the statement.

“The board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club representatives may come into contact with.”

Emergency measures, including more frequent testing, wearing face coverings while indoors, observing social distancing, and limiting treatment time, have been reintroduced.

Brighton FC fans show Covid passes before Wolverhampton match earlier this week. Credit: PA

Clubs will be expected to play where there are 14 players, including a goalkeeper, available from the registered squad list.

Under-21 players who are not on the squad list, but have played one league match, or any other contracted player not on the squad list “but otherwise would have been eligible to play” will also be included in the considerations.

The EFL is encouraging all eligible players and staff to get fully vaccinated and book a booster jab to “help protect colleagues and minimise the risk of fixtures being postponed”.