Premier League reveals player vaccination rates and confirms Leeds United's season will continue despite Omicron wave

Leeds United's Premier League festive fixtures will continue uninterrupted by the Omicron wave thanks to a 'collective intention' among top flight clubs to play on.

By Graham Smyth
Monday, 20th December 2021, 5:54 pm

The Premier League has confirmed the news after a meeting of clubs earlier today. It was previously suggested that clubs would mull over the idea of suspending the fixtures due to take place between December 28 and 30, which would have included Leeds' Elland Road clash with Aston Villa.

"It was confirmed at a Premier League club meeting today that while recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and challenges, it is the League’s collective intention to continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible," said a statement.

"The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority and the League will continue to monitor and reflect public health guidance, always proceeding with caution."

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The meeting took place after a heavily disrupted weekend of Premier League action. Leeds' encounter with Arsenal was the only top flight fixture to survive on Saturday, Covid-19 outbreaks forcing the postponement of six out of 10 games across the weekend. Villa's match with Burnley was called off less than three hours before kick-off due to an increase of positive cases in Steven Gerrard's squad.

Chelsea requested that their meeting with Wolves on Sunday be postponed but the Premier League decided it should go ahead. The Premier League handbook's Appendix 17 says cases are to be judged on an individual basis with general guidance that if 14 or more players are available matches will not be rescheduled. Covid-19 cases and not general injuries are taken into account.

Leeds had just nine senior players available to face Arsenal and Marcelo Bielsa needed Mark Jackson's Under 23s to make up the numbers with 20-year-old Cody Drameh and 19-year-old Joe Gelhardt starting the fixture. The substitutes bench had an average age under 19 and included 15-year-old Archie Gray. But of Leeds' unavailable players, only Spanish international defender Diego Llorente was missing through Covid-19.

Bielsa takes his side to Anfield on Boxing Day to face Liverpool and is unlikely to have of his absentees back and available for selection. After hosting Villa on December 28 they travel to Burnley on January 2.

CARRYING ON - Leeds United's festive fixtures look set to continue uninterrupted by the Omicron wave as a majority of Premier League clubs are keen to play on. Pic: Getty

Leeds boast a vaccination rate of 99 per cent among players and backroom staff. The Premier League say 92 per cent of players and club staff have received one, two or three COVID-19 vaccination doses, with 84 per cent of players 'on the vaccination journey.'