Fulham: Parker hits out at Premier League over Spurs game
Premier League clubs have been told to expect further short-notice postponements and fixture rescheduling due to Covid-19. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has written to all 20 clubs explaining the league’s position and stressing the importance of adhering to Covid protocols following recent breaches.
The Premier League has been criticised recently by managers for making fixture decisions at short notice which make planning and preparing for games difficult.
Several Premier League matches have been postponed due to Covid-19, including Aston Villa v Tottenham on Wednesday following an outbreak at the Birmingham club.
Fulham boss Scott Parker described the rescheduling of his side’s match against Tottenham on Wednesday, in place of the Villa match, as “scandalous”.
Meanwhile, Spurs manager Jose Mourinho ironically branded the Premier League “the best league in the world” after the game against Fulham on December 30 was cancelled at the last minute due to a Covid outbreak at the west London side.
Masters has now moved to quell the unrest amongst managers, while also reiterating the importance of Covid protocols after some players were reprimanded for socialising over the festive period.
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Clubs were reminded that shirt-swapping after matches is banned as is any “unnecessary contact, particularly between opposition clubs”, while face coverings “must also be worn at all times by players, coaches and staff.”
“It is already clear that we must do all we can to efficiently utilise all available calendar slots, given there have been three significant Covid-19 outbreaks at clubs to date and we should therefore realistically plan for the fact that there may be more,” Masters wrote in a letter seen by The Telegraph.
“Inevitably, requests for postponements will be at short notice and present difficulties for all parties and we appreciate clubs’ ongoing flexibility in helping us achieve our collective objectives.
“We are fortunate to be able to continue to play and bring our competition to fans at home and around the world. This brings justified additional scrutiny and the Premier League must take the lead in setting the right example to follow.
“The FA has written to all clubs remaining in the FA Cup on similar terms, after disappointing and concerning scenes at some third round FA Cup matches.
“We have the benefit of government support to continue playing whilst the country as a whole is facing severe restrictions as efforts are made to bring the virus, particularly its new variant, under control.”
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Mourinho and Parker both criticised the Premier League following last-minute decisions which affected their sides.
Mourinho was angry at the late notice for Tottenham’s Premier League game with Fulham being called off on December 30 following a Covid outbreak at their London rivals.
“Match at 6 pm,” Mourinho wrote in an Instagram post. “We still don’t know if we play. Best league in the world.”
Parker has been particularly vocal over the difficulties of managing a side who face uncertainty over their fixture schedule.
“I am angry because it is not right. It is wrong. That is why I am so angry,” he said Fulham’s match against Tottenham on Wednesday was only confirmed on Monday, after he had played a strong side in the FA Cup against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
“The possibility of playing Spurs on Wednesday came on Saturday. We didn’t think that was realistic and we were informed Monday morning at 9.30. To confirm that on Monday morning is scandalous. I accept we have to play the game, but it’s the notice.
“The people making these decisions don’t understand players. We have had it tough. We thought they had six days’ recovery time. It is madness really.”
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