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West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce calls for Premier League 'circuit break' after coronavirus surge

Sam Allardyce has called for a "circuit break" in the Premier League as the number of positive coronavirus tests continued to rise.

After Manchester City's match at Everton on Monday was postponed due to cases within the City camp, there were doubts over Sheffield United's trip to Burnley on Tuesday, though the fixture ultimately went ahead with the Clarets winning 1-0.

A report in The Daily Telegraph said representatives of some top-flight clubs had proposed a two-week 'cooling off' period, and West Brom manager Allardyce insisted it was the "right thing" to cope with the outbreak.

"When I listen to the news the variant virus transmits quicker than the original virus, we can only do the right thing which is have a circuit break," Allardyce said after his side's 5-0 defeat to Leeds.

"I am 66 years old and the last thing I want to do it catch Covid. I'm very concerned for myself and football in general. If that's what needs to be done we need to do it.

"No matter how hard we try, no matter how many times we get tested, how we wear our masks, how we sanitise our hands, we're still catching a lot infections round the country.

"If that helps [circuit breaker], let's do it and let the season run a little longer when we get through it."

The Premier League this week returned its highest number of positive tests this season. Between December 21 and 27, the League tested 1,479 players and club staff and 18 tested positive, eclipsing the previous highest number of cases – 16 in the week of November 9-15.

The PA news agency understands the Premier League is unaware of any talks over a break taking place. However, pressure is likely to grow after both Sheffield United and Fulham were affected by new outbreaks of the virus.

Blades manager Chris Wilder revealed ahead of their match at Burnley that the club had seen "a couple" of players and "half a dozen" staff test positive.

"It's not an ideal situation but I don't think we're a club of one," Wilder told SUTV. "It [the virus] is picking up and it's running high at football clubs.

"We just notified the relevant authorities that we've had a situation at the football club. But I want to play football. That's how it is, we're not looking to get anything canned. We did the right thing as far as our responsibility to the Premier League and notified them regarding the players that are ill."

Manchester City began retesting their squad on Tuesday, hoping to have prevented a wider outbreak after Monday's postponement, while Arsenal confirmed on Monday that Brazilian defender Gabriel had tested positive for the virus.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl did not attend his side's match with West Ham following a positive test in his household.

Nine games across the Championship, League One and League Two on Tuesday were postponed because of the virus.

Updated: December 30, 2020 08:22 PM

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