Premier League clubs set to enforce partial closures to academies

Premier League clubs set to impose partial closures to their academies amid third national lockdown as Covid crisis continues to cause havoc

  • Talks have taken place over what should happen to Premier League academies 
  • Draft proposals have been drawn up after the Government imposed lockdown
  • It has been put forward that ages U16 and below won’t play games in short-term
  • But U18s football and above will be given the green light to continue as normal 

Premier League clubs are set to enforce partial academy closures after the government’s decision to impose a third national lockdown.

Talks over the immediate futures of top-flight academies have taken place since Monday’s announcement of a new lockdown and draft proposals have been drawn up.

And it has been proposed that ages Under-16 and below will not play competitive fixtures in the short term, though certain level groups will be permitted to continue training. 

Clubs are seeking to clarify the short-term futures of their academies amid the third lockdown

But Under-18s football and above will be given the green light to continue as normal, as per the proposals which are still to be ratified.

The pandemic has decimated the academy schedule since football was suspended for the first time last March. 

While elite sport was given the green light to continue following the announcement of the severe third lockdown, football has been plagued by several Covid-related incidents amid the soaring rise in cases in the UK.

In the Premier League alone, the likes of Fulham and Manchester City have suffered Covid outbreaks within their squads.

The ongoing Covid pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the academy schedule

And ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup action, Aston Villa’s third-round tie with Liverpool has been thrown into doubt after a huge outbreak of coronavirus at the West Midlands club sent members of the first-team bubble into isolation. 

Manager Dean Smith’s pre-match press conference, due to take place on Thursday, was postponed as the club were in talks with the FA over whether the fixture could go ahead, and the training ground has been closed.

The match is the third tie of the third round to be affected. Derby will face Chorley on Saturday with a mixture of Under 23 and Under 18 players as interim manager Wayne Rooney and a number of first-team players and staff are isolating after a Covid outbreak at the club.

And Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie between Southampton and Shrewsbury is off after a significant number of Shrews players and staff tested positive for coronavirus. 

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