Norwich’s New Year’s Day trip to Leicester has been postponed at the Canaries’ request as a result of positive Covid-19 tests and injuries, the Premier League has confirmed.
Both clubs issued brief statements at 8pm on Thursday evening, with the governing body elaborating on the reasons.
The Premier League’s statement said: “Following a request from Norwich City, the Premier League Board met today and regrettably agreed to postpone the club’s fixture at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium, due to be played at 15:00 GMT on Saturday 1 January.
“The Board accepted Norwich’s application as the club do not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), due to COVID-19 cases and injuries.
“The decision by the Board was able to be made in advance of the fixture to give clarity to the affected clubs and their fans. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters’ festive plans.
“The League is aware that the recent decisions to postpone matches will disappoint supporters, and understands their frustrations at a special time of year when fans look forward to attending and watching football games.
“The League aims to provide as much clarity as possible, but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is our priority. Where possible, the League will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk on a matchday.”
The news came just hours after Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick had urged people to follow medical advice and get vaccinated against coronavirus.
Writing in his programme notes ahead of Thursday night’s clash with Burnley, who were without Nick Pope, Jay Rodriguez, Josh Brownhill and Kevin Long as a result of Covid, Rangnick said: “These are very strange times in which we live, but the most important thing everybody can do is be sensible and follow medical advice to be vaccinated.
“I have been here for a month already, but we have hardly had any games and our training has been very heavily affected by positive tests and the temporary closure of Carrington, so it has not been easy to assess everything I need to see and communicate everything I need to say.”
Earlier in the day, Luton’s Sky Bet Championship visit to Coventry on January 1 was postponed for similar reasons.
The Hatters did not have a sufficient number of players to be able to fulfil their Boxing Day fixture against Bristol City and have reluctantly accepted it will not be possible to raise a squad for Saturday.
League One matches between Ipswich and Lincoln and Wigan and Accrington have also been called off because of coronavirus issues, in addition to League Two fixtures between Salford and Tranmere and Rochdale and Mansfield.
The Ipswich v Lincoln game at Portman Road was postponed due to Covid-19 cases in the visitors’ squad, while fellow third-tier side Accrington later announced they were in a similar position, causing their scheduled trip to Wigan to be called off.
In League Two, the coronavirus outbreaks were at Tranmere and Rochdale.
Plymouth’s League One game at home to Wimbledon was postponed earlier in the week due to the hosts having an insufficient number of available players.
Meanwhile, Championship Preston, whose fixture at West Brom on Thursday was postponed last weekend because of Covid cases within the squad, have re-opened their training ground as they begin a phased return ahead of Monday’s trip to Stoke.