Le­ices­ter face fix­ture switch af­ter virus spike

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Andy Hamp­son

Le­ices­ter City should find out to­day whether their re­main­ing home Premier League fix­tures, in­clud­ing Satur­day’s clash with Crys­tal Palace, will have to be moved be­cause of a spike in lo­cal coro­n­avirus cases. All the other 19 Premier League venues have been put on standby in case there is a switch.

Le­ices­ter City’s re­main­ing home fix­tures look al­most cer­tain to be switched to an al­ter­na­tive venue af­ter emer­gency lock­down mea­sures were reim­posed in the city fol­low­ing a lo­cal spike in coro­n­avirus cases.

There have been 944 con­firmed Covid-19 cases in Le­ices­ter in the past two weeks, which is three times the num­ber of in­ci­dents of the city with the next high­est to­tal.

Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock told MPs last night that non-es­sen­tial travel to and from the area will be dis­cour­aged. A num­ber of shops in the city will close from to­day and schools will shut to most pupils from Thurs­day.

Le­ices­ter are due to host Crys­tal Palace on Satur­day in a Premier League clash be­hind closed doors, but the odds must now be on that fix­ture be­ing moved to a neu­tral venue. All the other 19 Premier League grounds are on standby in case of a switch. Le­ices­ter’s other home fix­tures, against Sh­effield United on July 15 and Manch­ester United on July 26, could also be af­fected.

Palace man­ager Roy Hodg­son, who be­cause of his age (72) would al­ready be in an at-risk coro­n­avirus cat­e­gory, said last night: “I’m per­fectly happy to let the Premier League take care of that. I’m cer­tain they will tell us where and when the game should be played. If they can’t play at Le­ices­ter they’ll find an al­ter­na­tive venue. We’re happy to go up and play against Le­ices­ter City wher­ever the Premier League tell us we should play.”

Le­ices­ter man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers, speak­ing be­fore Han­cock’s an­nounce­ment, said: “It is all hy­po­thet­i­cal at the mo­ment. We will just con­tinue our work. I’ve al­ways said we will re­act ac­cord­ingly. We have to have agility.”

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