Moyes tests pos­i­tive but game goes on

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - Foot­ball By Sam Dean at the London Sta­dium

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

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