Moyes tests positive but game goes on
Coronavirus struck Premier League football once again last night as West Ham United manager David Moyes and two first-team players were dramatically pulled out of their Carabao Cup match at the last minute.
Moyes, Issa Diop and Josh Cullen all learnt they had tested positive for coronavirus after arriving at the London Stadium to play Hull City last night. Diop and Cullen had originally been named in the lineup before they were withdrawn shortly before kick-off.
Before the match West Ham and Hull’s medical teams agreed the game should still go ahead, despite the positive tests, following consultation with the English Football League’s medical department.
Both teams insisted they were happy to continue as planned, with West Ham going on to win the game 5-1, because all relevant protocols had been followed. During discussions before the match, it is understood the EFL’s medical advisers pointed to evidence that there is a very low risk of transmission during an outdoor 11-a-side game.
West Ham assistant manager Alan Irvine, who stood in for Moyes on the touchline, said the club only became aware of the situation around one hour before kick-off.
“At 20 past six we suddenly got some info from our doctor and head physio to say there were three positive tests,” Irvine said.
“Immediately at that point you’re thinking ‘we’ve got a game in an hour and 10 minutes’ so we had to focus on that, and that was exactly what we focused on.”
Moyes and the coaching staff had been at the stadium for around 45 minutes before they learnt of the positive tests. Irvine said the staff were in the “same area” as Moyes, but that they “were not sitting beside” the manager.
“It was a big room and that wasn’t an issue for any of us,” he said. “We were shocked by the news, because we have had so many tests and not
had any positive. We do know that the tests are not completely accurate so we will wait and see what happens.”
Moyes, Diop and Cullen are all asymptomatic, but the news of the positive tests will cause further concern in the top flight that football could be affected on a wider scale.
It also emerged that Hull had earlier declined West Ham’s offer to test their entire team for coronavirus ahead of the match.
Asked why Hull had declined West Ham’s offer, Hull manager Grant McCann said: “Because we didn’t want to create anything. We are comfortable we were following the guidelines in and around the club. We decided against it, we felt we were fine. No one is showing any symptoms. We always monitor the players’ well-being.”
McCann said he and his players did not come into contact with any of the three individuals who tested positive. He added that all his players were happy to play the match.
“The medical team were comfortable, West Ham were comfortable,” McCann said. “The players knew before the game. The players are not silly. They all knew about it. Once we got here we had to follow the guidelines.
“After both clubs consulted with the EFL we made the decision to say it was OK. It was a joint decision between the two clubs and the EFL.”
In a statement, the EFL said: “The League was made aware of a number of positive test results at West Ham United shortly before tonight’s Carabao Cup tie against Hull City.
“Those individuals affected are now following the relevant Premier League and Public Health England advice and guidance and we wish them a speedy recovery.
“That guidance permitted the match to go ahead as planned but not before the two clubs’ medical teams, in conjunction with the EFL’s medical advisers, agreed all relevant protocols had been followed and both teams were comfortable in continuing.”
Marcus Rashford scores Manchester United’s second goal in their 3-0 victory against Luton in the Carabao Cup third round