Monday night’s Premier League fixture between Everton and Manchester City has been called off four hours before kick-off due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the City squad.
The game had been due to take place in front of 2,000 home fans at 8 pm GMT at Goodison Park on Monday evening, but will now be played at a later date, with City also closing their training ground for an “indeterminate period” to get the outbreak under control.
The squad and the associated bubble will undergo testing before any decision is made for training to resume.
City confirmed on Christmas Day that striker Gabriel Jesus, defender Kyle Walker and two members of staff had tested positive for Covid-19, and the outbreak has since worsened.
The club said “a number of positive cases” in addition to the four already reported have forced the game with Everton to be postponed.
A statement from Manchester City on Monday afternoon read: “Manchester City FC can confirm that this evening’s Premier League fixture at Everton has been postponed.
“After the latest round of Covid-19 testing, the club returned a number of positive cases, in addition to the four already reported on Christmas Day.
“With the security of the bubble compromised, there posed a risk that the virus could spread further amongst the squad, the staff and potentially beyond.
“Based on strong medical advice the Premier League, in consultation with both clubs, have decided to postpone the fixture.
“All positive cases involving players and staff will observe a period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine.
“The first team training ground at City Football Academy will close for an indeterminate period, with the squad and associated bubble undergoing testing before any decision is made for training to resume.
“Everyone at the Club wishes all of our colleagues a speedy recovery ahead of their return to work, training and competition.”
Everton said in a statement: “Following a Premier League Board Meeting this afternoon, Everton Football Club has been informed that tonight’s fixture against Manchester City has been postponed on medical grounds due to an increase in cases of COVID-19 in the Manchester City squad.
“Supporters who were successful in getting match tickets through the Club’s ballot for the fixture are advised not to travel to the stadium.
“An alternative date and kick-off time has yet to be decided but will be confirmed as soon as possible.”
The Premier League said that further testing would take place on Tuesday, with the top-flight insisting they remain fully confident in their Covid-19 protocols and the manner in which they are being implemented by clubs.