As COVID-19 cases rise again, major sporting events face yet another crisis

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The Manchester United player’s mural is on display outside Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, England on September 9, 2021. / CFP

The Manchester United player’s mural is on display outside Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, England on September 9, 2021. / CFP

The threat of massive postponements of sporting events around the world intensified on Monday with the English Premier League and the US NFL and NBA among the main competitions affected by the new variant of the Omicron coronavirus.

In its latest report, the Premier League announced 42 new positive cases of COVID-19 among players and club staff over the past week, marking the highest figure recorded in a seven-day period since the start of the publication of test results in May of last year.

Manchester United, Tottenham, Leicester City, Aston Villa, Brighton and Norwich have all confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The Premier League have no choice but to postpone United’s away game at Brentford on Tuesday night after the Red Devils were forced to shut down first-team operations at their Carrington training complex due to a massive epidemic.

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo (C) in action during their Premier League clash with Norwich City at Carrow Road in Norwich, England on December 11, 2021. / CFP

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo (C) in action during their Premier League clash with Norwich City at Carrow Road in Norwich, England on December 11, 2021. / CFP

A United statement on Monday night said: “In view of the cancellation of training and the disruption of the squad, and with the health of the players and staff as a priority, the Club have asked for the game to be revamped.

“The Premier League board has made the decision to postpone based on the advice of medical advisers. Manchester United regrets the inconvenience caused to Brentford FC and fans of both clubs by COVID-19.”

Tottenham have already seen their games against Rennes and Brighton postponed due to a virus outbreak in their squad, while in the league Sheffield United’s game against QPR on Monday was also called off.

Premier League clubs fear the rapid spread of the Omicron variant could force massive postponements which would be a huge problem for organizers, especially ahead of the crowded Christmas calendar.

Arizona Cardinals DeAndre Hopkins (R) carries the ball as Los Angeles Rams Darious Williams defends in the first quarter of their NFL game at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, USA on December 13, 2021. / CFP

Arizona Cardinals DeAndre Hopkins (R) carries the ball as Los Angeles Rams Darious Williams defends in the first quarter of their NFL game at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, USA on December 13, 2021. / CFP

Elsewhere, the NFL has also fallen victim to COVID-19 as it reported 37 positive tests in the league on Monday, the highest number in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and tight end Tyler Higbee were among dozens of players who returned positive test results, excluding them from Monday’s crucial game against the Arizona Cardinals, ESPN said. .

Other players who tested positive included Miami Dolphins running back Phillip Lindsay, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cedrick Wilson and Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Josh Gordon.

Under NFL rules, unvaccinated people who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for 10 days away from club facilities. Fully vaccinated individuals may return to team facilities after they have received two consecutive negative PCR tests performed at least 24 hours apart and are asymptomatic for 48 hours.

NBA Chicago Bulls Zach LaVine dribbles against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena in Florida, USA on December 11, 2021. / CFP

NBA Chicago Bulls Zach LaVine dribbles against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena in Florida, USA on December 11, 2021. / CFP

Meanwhile, in the NBA, it was confirmed on Monday that the Chicago Bulls game against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday and Thursday’s clash with the Toronto Raptors had both been called off due to COVID-19.

The league said in a statement that 10 Bulls players were currently unavailable after entering COVID-19 health and safety protocols, while “additional staff” were also not available.

Last season, the NBA postponed 31 games due to coronavirus, but Monday’s decision marks the first time games have been called off in this campaign.


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