Plans to restart the Premier League in England have been hit by a major setback after it emerged that a third first-team player from Brighton has tested positive for COVID-19.
Two Brighton players had contracted the coronavirus in March and April and the latest positive result could cast doubts on the Premier League’s plans to resume the season that has been suspended due to the pandemic.
Clubs are due to meet on Monday to further discuss “Project Restart” which envisages a return to play in June once given the green light from government, with the remaining 92 matches held behind closed doors at neutral venues.
“It is a concern. Unfortunately we’ve had a third player test positive yesterday,”, the Premier League club’s chief executive Paul Barber told Sky Sports on Sunday.
“So despite all of the measures that we’ve been taking over the past few weeks, where the players haven’t been involved in any significant training at all, we’ve still suffered another player testing positive for the virus.” Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero had said a number of players would be fearful of resuming the season amid the virus outbreak with more than 4.02 million people infected globally and over 276,000 dead.
“There are concerns and I think it’s normal for all clubs to have those concerns. We want to make sure we do everything that we can to ensure those protocols are in place and are safe and secure and mitigate the risk as far as we can,” Barber added.
Brighton, 15th in the standings, have five home games left including visits from Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal, and are among a number of top-flight clubs opposed to the idea of neutral venues.