Burnley’s Premier League match against Leicester on Saturday has been postponed with the Clarets having an insufficient number of players to fulfil the fixture.
The Premier League accepted a request lodged by Burnley, who were already without several players through Covid-19, injuries and Maxwel Cornet’s absence at the Africa Cup of Nations prior to the enforced sale of Chris Wood to relegation rivals Newcastle this week.
A league statement said: “The Premier League Board accepted Burnley’s application as the club does not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), due to COVID-19 cases and injuries.”
It is the fourth Burnley match this season to be postponed due to Covid-19, but the first time the request has come from the Turf Moor club.
Burnley saw three consecutive matches – against Watford, Aston Villa and Everton – postponed last month due to Covid-19 cases within the opposition camps, while November’s fixture against Tottenham was called off at short notice due to heavy snow.
That has left Burnley with a number of games in hand on other clubs around them at the foot of the table. Sean Dyche’s side have played 17 league games this season, the fewest of any team in the top flight, and now have four matches to reschedule.
The rearranged match against Watford is due to be played on Tuesday, though must now be in doubt.
Saturday’s opponents Leicester are among the other Premier League sides to have been badly hit by Covid-19.
Though ready to play this weekend, the Foxes had been forced to postponed Tuesday’s trip to Everton, a match which had already been rearranged from December.
Burnley were without seven players due to Covid-19 during last weekend’s 2-1 FA Cup loss to Championship side Huddersfield, a match that was also missed by manager Dyche as assistant Ian Woan took charge on the day.
Dyche is now out of isolation and had been due to speak to the media on Friday, his first chance to address Wood’s abrupt exit for St James’ Park after Newcastle activated a release clause in the New Zealand international’s contract. However, that press conference has now been cancelled.
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl called for more transparency from the Premier League over the issues behind the decisions to call off matches.
“They have opened the door and you cannot be surprised that someone is walking through now,” said the Saints boss, who has current coronavirus issues within his own squad.
“I cannot say anything about the Covid situation there because this is normally the reason why you cancel games. You have no view, no transparency and you cannot say anything about that, the rest is speculation.
“They lost a striker, I don’t know, everything is speculation. The Premier League has to handle this.
“This is why I say it that players or new signings shouldn’t be allowed to play in cancelled games when they haven’t been there before this game was due to play. This is a problem they have and its hard to solve it in the moment.”