The Premier League is divided over the possibility of a ‘firebreak’ shutdown amid a backdrop of spiralling Covid cases and nine postponed matches in the top flight. 

Five of the 10 Premier League games scheduled on Saturday and Sunday are already canceled, increasing the total number to nine top-flight matches this week.

It has led Premier League shareholders to meet on Monday to discuss a festive shutdown of football, according to reports, as its clubs struggle with several coronavirus outbreaks.

Mikel Arteta from Arsenal has called for more information on why games are delayed and asked the Premier league to give guidance about the rules in order to maintain fairness. 

Eddie Howe, Newcastle manager agreed and said that a decision must be made about the future campaign to “ensure integrity” is maintained. 

Jurgen Klopp from Liverpool, however, was against the plan. He said on Thursday that there is no need for a “circuit breaker” and only urged football chiefs be more “flexible” with the scheduling. 

Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish opposes and also wants to play as much as possible. In his opinion, there are not enough cancellations in order to force a pause.  

Mikel Arteta wants the Premier League to give 'more clarity' on why games are being called off

Mikel Arteta would like the Premier League’s clarification on why certain games have been called off

The Premier League will discuss temporarily stopping the season on Monday, say reports

According to reports, the Premier League will consider temporarily suspending the season.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe says a decision needs to be made over the campaign to 'ensure integrity is maintained'

Eddie Howe, Newcastle manager says that a decision must be made about the campaign in order to maintain integrity

Arteta is the side that faces Leeds this Saturday and believes the Premier League must provide “more clarity” on rules regarding matches being called off. This will ensure integrity in the competition. 

On Friday, the Spaniard stated that he hoped everyone was healthy and said: “Well, health-wise I hope so.

“I am certain that with all the things we do, we can keep everyone healthy.

We need to know why these games are not being played. What you do not need in order to keep the competition fair.

We always desire to play when there are the right circumstances to do so. But we’ve been here on the other side of the table where we’ve had all the arguments in the build up to a football match and ended up playing it. That’s why we need clarity to maintain fairness. 

“I believe there are many people who know more than me to help find the best solution. It’s not something I want to give an opinion on because I’m not a specialist. The government and the Premier League will make the correct decision. 

‘What I’m saying is let’s make a decision based on what is best for the competition and the health of everyone involved. After that then clear guidance on if it’s a yes or a no.’ 

Chelsea's clash with Everton took place on Thursday, despite other matches being called off

Even though other matches were called off, Chelsea’s match against Everton was played on Thursday

Eddie Howe from Newcastle agreed to the claim that the future of the campaign must be decided to “ensure integrity”

He added, “I do not think that we should have half of our games played but half of our games not played.”

If the league is not unified in terms of playing games, it will lose something.

“When players start to lose to Covid, the concern is that the competition will become slightly unfair. I don’t believe anyone would like to see this.

A decision is needed to preserve integrity within the market. The knife edge is what I see.

“People desire a fair league, not disparity between games or players being missing.

“I want to keep the program going, but I have to make sure that the well-being of all the supporters and players comes first.”

Brentford manager Thomas Frank revealed his club's desire to announce a temporary stop

Thomas Frank, Brentford’s Manager, announced that the club would like to declare a temporary halt

Jurgen Klopp sees no point in a 'circuit breaker' stop after Liverpool's win over Newcastle

Jurgen Klopp believes there is no need for a circuit breaker stop in the wake of Liverpool’s win against Newcastle

Arteta & Howe announced their stances after Brentford manager Frank made public his desire to announce a temporary suspension on Thursday morning.

The Danish manager claimed the variant is ‘running like wildfire’ around the world and that shutting down football for at least a week would help clubs get things under control.  


Brighton vs TottenhamSunday 12 December

Brentford vs Man UnitedTuesday 14 December

Burnley vs Watford – Wednesday, December 15

Leicester vs TottenhamThursday, December 16, 2008

Man Utd vs BrightonSaturday, 18 December

Southampton vs BrentfordSaturday, 18 December

Crystal Palace vs WatfordSaturday, 18 December

West Ham vs Norwich Saturday, 18 December

Everton vs Leicester Sunday, December 19   

Frank said at Thursday’s press conference, “It would take everybody a week or more to clean up the training grounds.

“Also, in football you need to have close contact. The physios must be able to treat the players. Matchdays are spent in dressing rooms. Coaches transport us so it is a bit harder to work remotely. 

According to The Times, Premier League chiefs will meet on Monday to discuss a potential shutdown, just a day after announcing their commitment to stick to the current schedule. 

Manchester United’s match against Brighton at lunchtime on Saturday is just one of five scheduled matches this weekend. The top flight will be playing four matches late Thursday night. 

Ralf Rangnick’s United was down to seven players at the Seagulls weekend visit. The club has closed Carrington’s training facility until Tuesday. Next up for the club is a visit to Newcastle on Dec 27.  

Nine matches were called off because of outbreaks caused by Omicron, ranging from Tottenham’s clash with Brighton in December 12th to five Saturday matches that were called off Thursday.   

But Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp announced after his side’s 3-1 win over Newcastle on Thursday night – which saw Virgil van Dijk, Curtis Jones and Fabinho miss the game due to Covid – that he sees no point of a ‘circuit breaker’ stop. 

Klopp stated in his Thursday press conference that he did not believe it was right to top the league, but given the time constraints we need to be flexible. Covid is the reason we have three outfield players. 

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish (above) believes the Premier League should carry on

Steve Parish, Chairman of Crystal Palace (above), believes that the Premier League must continue.

“It’s possible to play the 26th or 28th of December, but you only have 13 available players. Although there are many things we want to know, I’m not able to answer them all. 

Parish also urged the Premier League to go ahead as planned. He told BBC Breakfast that he has not had enough postponements so far to cause a real pause. It is our desire to get these games done as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

“I’m against this (a firebreaker), but it’s a possibility right now, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. There are rules that must be followed to ensure the Squad is filled. You have many reasons why you may not be able to fill your squad. 

“We all know the current situation and we must protect our players from Covid. We’ve been in unfortunate situations and needed to play. Injuries are the same. 

“It is always hard to lose when you are playing in important games. We must get as many fixtures through as possible. We will only continue if there are enough players for the teams. 



The Bees have 13 cases among players and staff – the club are now calling for a circuit-breaker shutdown to help clubs recover. Their training facility has been shut down and their Saturday trip to Southampton was postponed. 


Covid had to postpone Tottenham’s game on Thursday, meaning that they would have lost several of their players.  They closed their training grounds on Thursday to control the epidemic, but they do not have enough players to make Everton trip.

Manchester United

Although the exact number of cases is unknown, it has been confirmed that there was a significant outbreak which saw Brentford’s game postponed. On Thursday, United accepted calls to postpone Saturday’s match with Brighton. However, it was revealed that United had seven players available for the game due to the severity of the epidemic. To reduce transmission risk, their training facility is currently closed.


Premier League rejected a request to postpone Wednesday’s match with Wolves due to an outbreak at the club. Graham Potter said there had been a number of positive cases in the days before they played Wolves, who lost by 1-0. The Saturday game against Manchester United was postponed.


Dean Smith faced a nervous wait as he tried to determine the true extent of the spread at his club. Josh Sargent, Lukas Rupp and Pierre Lees-Melou were absent from the squad that faced Aston Villa in midweek for ‘Covid-related’ reasons, but while Christos Tzolis is the only confirmed player to test positive, more positive test results have been returned. Over Saturday’s match with West Ham, the Canaries met with Premier League representatives and agreed to delay it due to insufficient players. 


Their midweek match with Burnley was postponed hours before kickoff. Their home game against Crystal Palace was also postponed due to the closure of their training grounds. While the exact numbers of their cases remain unknown, it is clear that they lack sufficient players for the Palace match.


Spurs was the Premier League’s first club to become infected with the Omicron virus last week. Rennes and Brighton were also postponed as a result. The virus is expected to be returned by those who have completed their self-isolation period of 10 days. Even though initial attempts to postpone the Spurs game against Leicester were refused, Sunday’s meeting with Liverpool will go ahead.


The Blues were the next club to become infected by the Covid virus after Brentford. It was discovered that the outbreak had also affected Everton’s first team players. Mateo Kovacic, Callum Hudson Odoi, Timo Werner, Romelu Lukaku and Ben Chilwell were the other players to contract the virus this week. The game was still held with Everton and the draw took place. On Sunday, they will play Wolves.


An hour before the game against Newcastle was scheduled, it was announced that Curtis Jones (Fabinho), Curtis Jones (Virgil van Dijk) and Curtis Jones (Curtis Jones) had tested positive for Covid. They beat Newcastle 3-1, and will now face Tottenham on Sunday.