It was only a matter of time before COVID-19 wrecked the Premier League season.
Up until now, the EPL had actually been one of the few major sports leagues in the world to not have a major coronavirus outbreak.

For most of last season, the positivity rate from testing was extremely low. Rarely more than 20 staffers/players tested positive out of the normal batch of close to 9,000 tests per week. Here and there a player or two got COVID and had to miss some time as a result. However, it never became a full-blown outbreak like the Premier League is facing this week.

Over the past two weeks, the EPL has announced close to 80 new cases of COVID-19 among players and staff.

Due to contact tracing and preventative health measures, postponements and match cancellations have become the norm across English football.

Aston Villa‘s match against Tottenham was just postponed due to a breakout within the Villa camp. Due to COVID related issues, Villa was without most of their first-team squad in their FA Cup loss against Liverpool. More cancellations are sure to occur in the coming weeks which in my opinion, makes suspending the season the best course of action.

I have talked in some of my other articles about the safety risk of this condensed Premier League campaign. COVID aside, muscle injuries are at an all-time high across the top flight, likely having to do with the players’ inability to have a sufficient amount of rest between matches. As postponements pile up, match scheduling will just get more and more compact, meaning injuries could be even more prevalent than they are now. Suspending the season for a few weeks and moving the campaign’s end date back into June will only help the safety of the players.

Photo: Getty Images

And then there are of course the COVID risks involved in continuing to play a normal slate of games during this recent outbreak. Most of the footballers who tested positive for coronavirus were asymptomatic, but a few, including Chelsea’s Kai Havertz, were very sick for an extended period of time. Havertz has openly stated that even though he doesn’t have the virus anymore, he is still working back to his normal self due to the overwhelming combination of symptoms he faced. Havertz’s story is thankfully an anomaly, however, the FA needs to be concerned about the lasting health of their players.

To make matters worse, there is a new COVID strain in the UK that reportedly spreads up to 70% quicker than the normal COVID-19.

The newly appointed manager of West Brom Sam Allardyce called for the suspension of the season due to the danger of this new coronavirus strain.

“Everyone’s safety is more important than anything and when I hear variant virus transmits 70% quicker we can only do the right thing which would be to have a circuit breaker,” Allardyce explained.

A pause really isn’t the end of the world and when the UK government deems it safer to play, matches can start right up again.

Overall, the safety of the players and coaches needs to be of the utmost importance to the FA. There can be serious consequences if another outbreak happens amongst a club, especially if that team has an older manager like Allardyce.

I love the Premier League as much as the next guy, but the walls around the EPL bubble are starting to crumble.
A suspension of the season would be in the best interest of everyone involved in the sport.

Featured Image: Getty Images
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