Tottenham’s final home game of 2020 has been called off less than four hours before kick-off due to a number of positive Covid-19 cases at Fulham, plunging the Premier League into even more chaos.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho showed a video inside the stadium minutes before the announcement of the postponement was made where he revealed the confusion of him and his coaching staff as to whether the match had been abandoned.
Mourinho sarcastically mocked the ‘Best league in the world’ tag on his Instagram by revealing he and his Tottenham players had no idea if they were to play Fulham by 2pm on Wednesday when they were already at the stadium.
The Tottenham boss uploaded a video to his Instagram page where he is sat alongside his fellow coaches with his feet up on the sofa watching Sky Sports News.
Jose Mourinho shared a video on his Instagram page highlighting the confusion at Tottenham as their match against Fulham was called off less than four hours before the slated kick-off
Less than four hours before kick-off Tottenham were awaiting clarity if the match goes ahead
He openly mocked the Premier League and its ‘best league in the world’ tag in the caption
Accompanying the video, Mourinho sarcastically captioned the video: ‘Match at 6pm… We still don’t know if we play. Best league in the world.’
Soon after the video was posted, the match had been called off by the Premier League following an emergency meeting. It is only the third top-flight game this season to be postponed due to the virus.
Tottenham’s players and staff were sat waiting inside the stadium before a decision was made to call off a second Premier League game this week after Manchester City’s trip to Everton was abandoned on Monday.
As revealed by the Athletic on Tuesday, a number of people associated with Fulham have tested positive for the virus and as such the game has been placed in doubt.
Fulham are reported to have made the request to the Premier League to have Wednesday’s game postponed.
Fulham boss Scott Parker was due return to the dugout for the game following the completion a 10-day self-isolation period after a member of his household tested positive for Covid-19.
Tottenham were set to host the Cottagers in their final Premier League game of 2020 this week
Scott Parker was ready to return to the Fulham dugout against Spurs after a period of isolation
PREMIER LEAGUE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS FOR 2020-21 SEASON
Round 1: Aug 31-Sep 6 – 1,605 tested, with three testing positive.
Round 2: Sep 7-13 – 2,131 tested, with four testing positive.
Round 3: Sep 14-20- 1,574 tested, with three testing positive.
Round 4: Sep 21-27 – 1,595 tested, with 10 testing positive.
Round 5: Sep 28-Oct 4 – 1,587 tested, with nine testing positive.
Round 6: Oct 5-11 – 1,128 tested, with five testing positive.
Round 7: Oct 12-18 – 1,575 tested, with eight testing positive.
Round 8: Oct 19-25 – 1,609 tested, with two testing positive.
Round 9: Oct 26-Nov 1 – 1,446 tested, with four testing positive.
Round 10: Nov 2-8 – 1,646 tested, with four testing positive.
Round 11: Nov 9-15 – 1,207 tested, with 16 testing positive.
Round 12: Nov 16-22 – 1,530 tested, with eight testing positive.
Round 13: Nov 23-29 – 1,381 tested, with 10 testing positive.
Round 14: Nov 30-Dec 6 – 1,483 tested, with 14 testing positive.
Round 15: Dec 7-13 – 1,549 tested, with six testing positive.
Round 16: Dec 14-20 – 1,569 tested, with seven testing positive
Round 17: Dec 21-27 – 1,479 tested, with 18 testing positive
The 40-year-old returned a negative test last week but continued to self-isolate in accordance with the Government guidelines before returning another negative test at the weekend.
On Tuesday the Premier League confirmed that there are 18 new positive Covid-19 tests among players and staff, the highest weekly total since Project Restart.
The latest round of testing saw 1,479 players and staff tested and the results show a sharp increase on last week’s total.
Manchester City’s trip to Everton on Monday was cancelled just hours before kick-off, a decision which left the Merseyside club furious and demanding a full explanation.
It was the second game to be postponed due to Covid-19 after Newcastle’s visit to Aston Villa at the start of the December was called off.
Everton were furious as they wanted to play and had started pre-match preparations at the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool, their usual base.
Premier League rules state that matches should go ahead if a club has 14 available players, including a goalkeeper, although decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis and dependant on circumstances — particularly in relation to the pandemic.
But the league can take the precautionary measure of postponing the fixture if they believe that players and staff are at an increased risk of catching the virus.
On Tuesday, the United Kingdom posted its highest daily rate of infections since the pandemic began in March – with 53,135.
The previous highest number of cases in one round of Premier League testing this season was 16, during the week of November 9-15.
A Premier League statement read: ‘The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 21 December and Sunday 27 December, 1,479 players and club staff were tested for Covid-19. Of these, there were 18 new positive tests.
‘Players or club staff who have tested positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.’
Sheffield United’s game against Burnley went ahead after multiple positive Covid tests
Sheffield United reported a number of positive cases in their camp hours before kick-off on Tuesday but, unlike Manchester City on Monday, they did not request to postpone their trip to Burnley, which they eventually lost 1-0 courtesy of a Ben Mee goal.
Speaking before the game, Chris Wilder said Sheffield United had no choice but to ‘work with what we’ve got’ after being forced to leave out Oli McBurnie, Phil Jagielka and Billy Sharp, with ‘four or five’ staff members among the positive tests.
He said the club were always looking to play the game despite the outbreak and ‘did the right thing’ by telling the authorities about what had happened.
‘We’ve got a couple of players missing through illness, we had a player who had to get tested this morning and we’ve got a couple of injuries too, so it’s not ideal but we have to work with what we’ve got.’
Burnley chief executive Neil Hart said despite a rise in Covid cases within football, there was no crisis and matches should continue.
Chris Wilder, pictured arriving at Burnley, was only able to name seven subs for the game
‘Our view is let’s keep going, we have robust medical protocols in place,’ he told Sportsmail.
On reported discussions among Premier League chairmen about the potential suspension of matches for two weeks, Mr Hart said: ‘I am not aware that is the prevailing view.
‘There are no Premier League-wide discussions taking place to my knowledge.’
The Burnley chief said the infection rate in the last round of Premier League Covid testing, which saw 18 positive tests – the most to date – out of a total of 1,479 players and staff, was just over one percent.
‘Clearly, we have seen a spike, but I think we are reacting to it in a positive way.
‘We are trying to keep things going. Let’s keep it in perspective, it is still one per cent.
‘We have had positive cases in playing staff and non-playing staff in the last few weeks and months, we have followed strict protocols and we have carried on. The protocols are where they need to be. They were agreed as a group by all the Premier League clubs.
City’s game against Everton on Monday was postponed due to an increase in positive tests
‘There is no crisis here. We are carrying on and want to continue playing football. It could reach a crisis point in the future, but we are not there now.’
Sportsmail understands that there have been no discussions with the Premier League board about postponing matches. And Whitehall sources say the government is not considering suspending elite sport, which have protocols in place to manage the risk of coronavirus.
However, all parties accept the situation is fluid.
Premier League chiefs are determined to press on with fixtures despite calls from a number of clubs to introduce a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
With teams already facing a jam-packed fixture list, the option to postpone and rearrange two weeks worth of games will prove to be extremely difficult ahead of this summer’s rearranged Euro 2020.
As revealed by Sportsmail, the Government has held talks with football authorities amid the increasing number of positive tests as a new strain of the virus sweeps the country.
Government officials offered Premier League clubs reassurance that football in the top flight would be able to continue, given their constant testing of players and staff, while the success of Project Restart helped prove the action can continue in a safe enough manner.