EFL beef up Covid protocols as clubs including Doncaster Rovers cancel matches due to outbreaks

The EFL has beefed up training ground protocols in reaction to the increased transmission rate of the Covid-19 Omicron variant and clarified the rules regarding the postponement of matches.

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 3:43 pm
Doncaster Rovers training ground at Cantley Park
Doncaster Rovers training ground at Cantley Park

To satisfy the EFL’s guidance on postponing matches in such circumstances, Rovers needed to have fewer than 14 players, including a goalkeeper, available from their senior squad list or unlisted under 21s who have played at least one league match.

Injuries are understandably included in the list of absentees and the EFL will provide guidance for clubs looking to postpone matches.

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A statement from the EFL included: “This guidance has been designed to help clubs ensure the safety of players and staff, while ensuring that the fixture schedule can be maintained wherever possible.

“Where any club states it cannot fulfil a fixture, a report shall be filed with the EFL, and the circumstances reviewed.”

From this weekend, clubs must switch to the EFL’s red protocols for first team training.

Social distancing measures will be required outside of physical training sessions while the use of indoor facilities, therapy and group travel will be limited.

Clubs will be expected to implement daily lateral flow tests, with any positives then requiring a PCR test and isolation as per government guidelines.

The EFL has confirmed there will not be a report on positive test results at this time, as there was last season.

The EFL is actively encouraging players and staff at all clubs to get fully vaccinated, including a booster jab.

Data gathered in November shows that 59 per cent of players across the EFL are double vaccinated while 16 per cent are set to get the jab.

A quarter of players currently do not intend to be vaccinated.

The EFL’s Medical Advisor Dr Richard Higgins said: “Further to enhanced medical guidance recently issued, in response to a growing number of Covid-19 cases and subsequent fixtures postponements in recent days, the EFL has opted to strengthen its protocols for all clubs to help minimise the health risks to individuals while seeking to mitigate against the threat of further fixture postponements in the weeks ahead.

“Alongside enhanced protocols which includes mandatory testing ahead of matchdays, the EFL continues to strongly encourage players and staff at clubs to get fully vaccinated and obtain a booster jab if eligible to do so.

“We know that getting double jabbed and boosted now will reduce the risk of getting seriously ill or dying from Covid-19, reduce the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19 amongst team-mates and loved ones, while helping protect against Covid-19 variants including Omicron.”

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