Gary Neville is leading calls for EFL/Premier League to end cancelling Christmas fixtures due to Covid concerns. 

16 Top-Flight Meetings were cancelled in December so far. Newcastle’s Everton visit was the last to be delayed. 

Following an epidemic of the virus among their players, North East asked for the game to be postponed. This was in addition to a string of injuries sustained during the 1-1 draw they had with Manchester United. 

Gary Neville has suggested Manchester United should have played through their Covid crisis

Gary Neville suggests that Manchester United could have faced the Covid crisis through Manchester United

The pundit has said the Premier League and EFL must stop the swathe of postponements

A pundit said that the Premier League should and EFL need to stop the endless postponements

Newcastle named an eight-man squad, with two goalkeepers. Eddie Howe has seen his pool of players shrink further due to injuries to Ryan Fraser, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Callum Wilson. 

Neville however has taken issue with the decision to cancel games and suggested that clubs all have access youth players to replenish the first-team squad.  

Sky Sports pundit stated that the cancellations must be stopped by EFL and PL, unless it is an exceptional circumstance. Twitter.

“Each club should have 40-50 players, including a youth team. If it’s the carabao cup or EFL trophy they find a team without fielding the first 11. Keep going. 

Newcastle have had their Everton clash called off after injuries added to their Covid outbreak

Newcastle had to cancel their Everton clash after suffering injuries as a result of their Covid outbreak

Newcastle are not the only ones to suffer from an epidemic. Arsenal on Wednesday confirmed that MikelArteta will be absent for their New Year’s Day match with Manchester City. Arteta had tested positive for the second time. Arteta’s March 2020 positive result was what prompted the Premier League to be shut down before the UK began its first lockdown. 

 The likes of Watford, Tottenham and even Neville’s own Manchester United have also been caught out by the more virulent omicron strain.  

Neville claims that there’s no bias to his opinion, saying that Ralf Rangnick should have had to send a smaller team instead of cancelling games with Brighton and Brentford. 

One fan called him out, accusing the ex-Red Devil of only speaking an opinion that United has recovered from, and he responded: “United should be told to play!”  

Complete list of PL postponements 

December 12

Brighton vs Tottenham

December 14

Manchester United vs Brentford

December 15

Burnley vs Watford

December 16,

Leicester vs Tottenham

December 18,

Aston Villa vs Burnley

Manchester United vs. Brighton 

Southampton vs Brentford 

Crystal Palace vs Watford

West Ham vs Norwich

December 19

Everton vs Leicester

December 26

Burnley vs Everton

Liverpool vs Leeds

Wolves vs Watford

December 28

Arsenal vs Wolves

Leeds vs Aston Villa

December 30,

Everton against Newcastle 

No fewer than 16 Premier League matches have been postponed over Covid outbreaks

Covid epidemics have caused 16 Premier League matches to be postponed 

Ralf Rangnick saw his side's clashes with Brentford and Brighton both called off over Covid

Ralf Rangnick was at the Covid meeting and saw that his clashes against Brentford were both cancelled.

Postponements don’t just happen in the Premier League. There have been 52 postponements in the Football League. More games are being canceled than going ahead. 

The situation is being questioned by supporters who want clarity and consistency. 

A Newcastle fan commented on Everton’s defeat. wroteWe need transparency. Is there a lot of Covid cases in the country? What are the injuries? Lack of consistency and credibility.  

Neville has suggested that clubs should utilise Under-23 players and youth squads for games

Neville suggested that clubs use Under-23 and Youth Squads players for their games 


When making a final decision, the Premier League Board will take into consideration these factors:

1) The impact of COVID-19 infections on a club’s squad, as well as injuries, illness and those isolating, and the number of players available on the squad list and any Under-21 players with appropriate experience. The match will be canceled if the club is unable to field 13 of its outfield players or a goalkeeper, either from its own squad list or its appropriate experienced Under-21s.

2) Status of any COVID-19 epidemic within a club. This includes the number and location of the infection, as well as the source and sequence of the infections.

3) A club’s ability to safely prepare its players in the lead-up to a match.

4. A medical opinion as to whether the playing of the match poses an unacceptable risk to players or staff.

5) All advice received from UK Health Security Agency (or other public entities).

Other exceptional circumstances

Premier League provides guidance on the factors that they will consider in deciding whether to postpone a request by a club. 

They state as a rule that ‘a club can’t field 13 goalkeepers and an outfield player from either its roster or its Under-21 team. The match will be canceled.

The Premier League defines appropriate experience as having at least one appearance in a Premier League, EFL, or other club. 

Games can also be cancelled for other reasons. For example, clubs that are not fully prepared or who have difficulty preparing due to a training facility closing, may not know the full extent of the outbreak. 

Neville tweeted that clubs should have greater faith in their youth players. 

On Tuesday, replying to talkSPORT presenter Adrian Durham on the ability for Championship sides to field teams, he wrote: ‘No way these clubs can’t get a team out. As we’ve seen, in the PL, when requests for teams are denied they often end up with full-strength lines.

“Time for clubs not to be distracted and do not hesitate to trust their players, unless there are exceptional circumstances.