Newcastle Discussing Postponing Aston Villa Game After COVID-19 Outbreak

Newcastle United are in discussions with the Premier League over potentially postponing Friday’s meeting with Aston Villa after Steve Bruce’s squad was hit by a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Magpies were forced to close their training ground after five cases of the virus were detected across two separate rounds of testing, sparking fears that the training centre may have been contaminated.

Joelinton, Gary CahillJoelinton, Gary Cahill
Newcastle have not trained since they faced Crystal Palace | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

As noted by Sky Sports News, the training ground remains closed and may not reopen for at least a few days. The entire squad and backroom staff have been told to stay at home until further notice and will undergo a fresh round of testing on Wednesday.

Even if the results all come back negative, Newcastle may not have had the chance to train together before setting off to Villa Park for Friday’s game.

As a result, Newcastle officials are in discussions with the Premier League over postponing the decision – an eventuality which is looking increasingly likely.

There’s no guidance for the Premier League to follow for their decision. Every situation is dealt with on a case-by-case basis, so league officials will have to decide whether they think Newcastle have been put at a significant disadvantage because of the outbreak, and whether allowing the squad to travel could put other areas of the country at risk.

“It is a concern and difficult to manage,” Bruce said when asked about the situation at St James’ Park on Friday. “We are trying our utmost to make sure we try and stay as safe as we can.

Steve BruceSteve Bruce
Bruce is prioritising the safety of everyone at the club | Pool/Getty Images

“Of course my concern is not just the welfare of the players, which is vitally important, but my members of staff too. We will do our best but it is difficult at the moment.”

Newcastle are yet to officially request the postponement of the fixture, but ‘high-level’ talks are being held and all the signs suggest the match may be rescheduled for a later date.

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