The previous rules outlined that clubs were able to postpone a match if they did not have a sufficient number of players available – this being 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper. These rules also meant clubs were able to include injured players and those on international duty in their reason for postponement, as only one player needed to have tested positive for Covid-19.
For a chance of postponement occurring, clubs must provide the League with the players and staff who have tested positive and their vaccination status - including those who are self-isolating. Along with the players who are unable to play through illness or injury. Applications must also include a list of the clubs under-21 players who are available to play, which includes those who have played for the club or another Premier League or EFL club and also those who have played for an overseas club in the current season.
Due to the previous rules, there was a lot of frustration around clubs postponing matches a short notice which provided an inconvenience to fans. There was further tension as clubs were using players with normal injuries and those at AFCON as a reason for their lack of players within the squad and need for postponement.
Burnley were one of the most impacted clubs, resulting in them having 4 of their matches rescheduled.
Gary Neville was one to provide his view on the matter when speaking on Sky Sports, “we’re talking about teams with no doubt they’ve been calling games off because they haven’t got the best squad to win the game, it’s got to stop”.
These new regulations came into place on February 5th, in a bid to reduce the number of postponed fixtures in the League.