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Wales Online
Wales Online
Ian Mitchelmore

The strict Covid-19 rules Cardiff City, Swansea City, Newport County and other EFL sides must now follow

The English Football League has moved to implement enhanced training ground protocols and increased testing as a result of the upward transmission rate of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

Several matches throughout the football pyramid have been postponed of late due to sides being unable to field a team as a result of coronavirus outbreaks within their camps.

Cardiff City's clash with Derby County and Swansea City's fixture at Queens Park Rangers have both been called off this week, with numerous other matches in the Premier League and the EFL being postponed.

And in light of the rise on Covid-19 cases, the EFL has informed its 72 clubs that they must undertake more frequent testing while also being required to tighten measures at training grounds as part of what are described as enhanced RED protocols.

As of Saturday, December 18, EFL clubs must undertake daily Covid-19 testing while physical distancing is required at training grounds.

The use of indoor training facilities must be restricted while there are also time limits on manual therapy - such as soft tissue massages.

Attendance at the first team training ground is now strictly limited to only players and key staff. Press conferences are required to be held virtually - with no media permitted to attend training grounds.

With regards to matchdays, clubs have also been told that players are no longer permitted to shake hands while interactions between players and staff post-match is to be limited.

READ MORE: QPR v Swansea City Championship match postponed due to Covid-19 outbreak at London club

READ MORE: Cardiff City v Derby County Championship match postponed after Covid-19 outbreaks in both camps

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.”

In addition to the new guidance, the EFL has also acted to clarify how they determine whether or not games are postponed.

In a statement, they wrote: "In the wake of recent EFL fixture postponements due to COVID-19 cases at Clubs, the EFL has also provided guidance on non-fulfilment of fixtures, confirming that Clubs will be expected to play where it has 14 players including a goalkeeper available from the Club’s registered squad list, Under 21 players not on the squad list but have played one League match, or any other contracted player not on the squad list but otherwise would have been eligible to play. The EFL will assist Clubs in their deliberations."

The EFL has also urged "all eligible players and staff to get fully vaccinated and a booster jab to help protect colleagues and minimise the risk of fixtures being postponed."

The latest vaccine data collated for November has shown that 75% of players across the EFL are either fully vaccinated, have had a single jab or intend to be vaccinated.

Double vaccinated players total 59%, 16% are set to get the jab, while 25% of players currently do not intend to get a vaccine.

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