Two Premier League matches scheduled for Boxing Day have been postponed due to Covid cases, while Everton have had a request to postpone their game with Burnley rejected.
The games at Anfield between Liverpool and Leeds, and Molineux where Wolverhampton Wanderers were set to host Watford have been called off.
The Premier League took the decision following requests from the two away teams who both have 'a number' of affected players, leaving them unable to fulfil their respective scheduled fixtures.
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A statement from the league on Thursday afternoon confirmed the news:
"Following postponement requests from Leeds United and Watford FC as a result of COVID-19, the Premier League board met this morning and regrettably agreed to call off the two affected clubs’ Boxing Day fixtures.
"The two games are Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Watford FC and Liverpool FC against Leeds United, both due to be played on Sunday at 12:30pm.
"The board today was able to make its decisions in advance of Boxing Day to give clarity to clubs and their supporters. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to those fans’ festive plans."
The news comes off the back of six matches being postponed in the previous gameweek and three further matches during the midweek round of fixtures a few days prior.
The league are already holding meetings with managers and team captains on Thursday to discuss player welfare and fixture congestion during the Christmas period after a record number of players and staff at club returned positive coronavirus tests in recent weeks.
The Premier League had previously reiterated that they had no plans to postpone entire rounds of fixtures during the ongoing health crisis.
Everton have had a request to postpone their game against Burnley rejected by the Premier League.
The Toffees have five players absent with Covid-19, on top of a lengthy injury list, and manager Rafa Benitez has expressed surprise that the game is being allowed to go ahead.
“We have to wait to see which players are available,” he said. “It is a difficult situation. When you talk about what is going on and the number of Covid cases in the country, we will have more and more cases every day.
“I don’t know the conditions of every club. I know our situation, we have six injuries, five players with Covid and now we have to pick players who have been out for a while or young players, and we have to take a risk putting them on the pitch and possibly in different positions.
“It will not be easy and I think it is not fair.
"What teams around Burnley and around us [in the Premier League table] will think in terms of the integrity of the league, I don’t know. Clearly, in this case, it is a surprise that we have to play this game.
"Now, I have to think about if I have 11 players fit and where can I put them."
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