PFA under pressure to support funds for Covid-19 testing of EFL clubs

PFA under pressure to support funding for Covid-19 testing in EFL clubs following Leyton Orient’s Carabao Cup cancellation as players raise their concerns

  • The PFA are under pressure to financially support Covid-19 testing EFL players 
  • Leyton Orient suffered 17 positive tests and had Spurs cup tie called off 
  • The lack of testing has become a concern for players in the lower leagues

The Professional Footballers’ Association are under growing pressure to financially support the Covid-19 testing of EFL players.

As it stands, testing players for coronavirus is not mandatory in the EFL. But that has led to significant problems — notably this week when Leyton Orient’s Carabao Cup tie against Tottenham was called off after 17 players from the League Two side provided positive readings following tests paid for by Spurs.

The lack of testing has become a concern for players in the lower leagues given the health risks.

The PFA are under pressure to fund covid-19 testing in EFL after Leyton Orient’s problems

Their Carabao Cup tie against Spurs was called off after 17 players provided positive readings

One player told Sportsmail: ‘It should be compulsory for clubs to be tested, for our safety but also for our families’ safety.’

While some EFL clubs have continued with testing regularly, some have ceased doing so partly because of the financial burden.

There is a growing feeling among players that the PFA should consider shouldering at least some costs for more regular testing at cash-strapped clubs.

Sportsmail understands the PFA have not offered to make any financial contribution towards testing for EFL clubs. There was, however, an initial discussion on the matter.

A source said: ‘One of the PFA’s main responsibilities is player welfare. What can be more important than protecting members and their families’ health?’

The PFA are sitting on cash reserves of around £55million and their chief executive Gordon Taylor is paid £2m per year.

There is a growing feeling among players that the PFA should help cover the costs of testing

Sportsmail revealed earlier this month the PFA have not asked any of their 62 employees to take a pay cut during the pandemic.

Taylor did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Sources claim the PFA feel it is the clubs and the EFL’s responsibility to pay for tests.

The impact of the lack of testing in the EFL has stretched to the Premier League, with West Ham fearing their Covid-19 outbreak may have been sparked by their Carabao Cup clash against Charlton last week. 

West Ham hosted the League One club in the second round on Tuesday, 48 hours before it was confirmed that Charlton striker Chuks Aneke had the virus.

The Hammers were then hit by three positive tests, confirmed shortly before their third-round clash with Hull on Tuesday.

Manager David Moyes, defender Issa Diop and midfielder Josh Cullen all contracted the virus.

West Ham paid for Charlton’s players to be screened before their meeting, at a cost of £150 per check.

But Charlton boss Lee Bowyer explained how Aneke reported feeling ill the day after playing in their 3-0 defeat and a subsequent test came back positive.

West Ham were hit by three positive tests, including manager Moyes, after Charlton match

West Ham now face an anxious wait to discover the extent of the spread among players and staff.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth have tested their players ahead of Thursday night’s League Cup clash with Manchester City.

The Cherries decided to bring in testing despite both clubs initially not deeming it necessary.

Following discussions, City offered to pay for Bournemouth — relegated from the top flight last season — to bring in testing.

But the Championship club decided to stump up for it themselves and their players and staff were tested on Wednesday morning.

They are hoping to receive the results before they set off for the Etihad Stadium today.

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