EFL clubs to get coronavirus tests twice a week, funded by PFA

Football and hand sanitiser
England’s third national lockdown legally came into force on Wednesday though professional sport can continue behind closed doors

Players and staff at English Football League clubs will be given coronavirus tests twice a week as of 11 January to help find asymptomatic cases earlier.

They will be “fully funded” by the Professional Footballers’ Association and are being brought in to combat the virus’ new more infectious variant.

The tests will initially be sourced from the private sector.

Until this week’s mandatory tests, clubs have only had to mass test once players return from international duty.

Tests were done before the first matches of the season but have otherwise only been required when individuals display Covid-19 symptoms.

Across the EFL this season, 52 games have been postponed for coronavirus-related reasons – six in the Championship, 34 in League One and 12 in League Two.

“With the new strain of the virus taking hold across parts of the country, it is now clear from our discussions with our medical advisers and public health officials that additional testing, operated in conjunction with strict protocols, may prove beneficial in the immediate short term,” said EFL chief executive Trevor Birch.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor added: “We believe that this comprehensive and expansive approach to testing will help support clubs and be an important factor in maintaining fixtures and ensuring that football can continue during this challenging period.”

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