Palace’s Spurs request denied in latest Premier League farce
Crystal Palace will play Tottenham on Boxing Day after unsuccessfully appealing for the game to be postponed.
Reports emerged on Christmas evening that the game was to be called off due to a number of positive COVID-19 tests in the Palace camp.
Football.London cite a source as saying that ‘the league are waiting to make the decision but it is highly likely the game will be called off’.
Palace manager Patrick Vieira confirmed that the playing squad had suffered “a couple of cases” this week, while two members of the Frenchman’s backroom staff have also recorded positive tests.
LondonWorld claim that the number of players struck down is four, with two kitchen staff and two more support staff members also affected.
There was confusion surrounding the situation due to the lack of an official statement from either club or the Premier League itself, but The Athletic say the game will go ahead.
While Palace players were advised to stay at home over Christmas rather than meeting at a hotel as part of the usual pre-match routine, the suggestion is that any outbreak has not impacted availability to the extent that the Premier League would consider a postponement.
The Athletic add that Palace did not even make an official request to have the game called off until ‘the early hours’ of Sunday morning, and only a sudden raft of positive cases would put the match in jeopardy.
A number of outlets have since stated with confidence that the game is to proceed as planned, with official confirmation from the clubs that the match was on coming at around 11.30am – three and a half hours before kick-off.
As things stand, Tottenham v Crystal Palace is on, with strong assurances that will not change. More updates @TeleFootball
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) December 26, 2021
Three of the Premier League’s ten games scheduled for Boxing Day have already been postponed, with Leeds and Watford unable to field enough first-team players to fulfil fixtures against Liverpool and Wolves respectively.
Everton also had their match against Burnley called off, despite the Premier League having earlier denied the Toffees’ request to do so.
Tottenham have already had two Premier League games and one Europa Conference match delayed due to a COVID outbreak within the club, giving them up to three fixtures in hand on those above them in the table.
Antonio Conte’s side will have to fit games against Brighton and Leicester, as well as the weather-affected Burnley match, into a packed schedule which was somewhat relieved by their controversial exit from the Europa Conference.
Tottenham were eliminated from the competition after their final group game against Rennes was deemed to be a forfeit by UEFA.