Leicester face fixture switch after virus spike
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.”