Everton’s home game with Manchester City has been postponed due to a “number of positive coronavirus cases” among their scheduled visitors.
The Premier League match had been due to kick-off at Goodison Park at 8pm tonight, but is now set to be played at a later date.
On Christmas Day, Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus and defender Kyle Walker – along with two members of staff – were revealed to have tested positive for COVID-19 and entered self-isolation.
The club has now reported further coronavirus cases and, as well as the postponement of the Everton game, will close their first team training ground for an “indeterminate period”.
A statement from Manchester City said: “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.”
The club said its playing squad and associated bubble would undergo further testing before any decision is taken on when to resume training.
Everton – who are currently joint second alongside Leicester in the league, but could have gone level on points with Liverpool at the top of the table with a victory – had no say in the decision to call off the match.
The late postponement was also a huge disappointment to 2,000 supporters as Goodison Park is one of only two Premier League grounds – the other being neighbouring Anfield – to be allowed to admit fans under the UK’s tiered system of lockdown restrictions.
A Premier League statement said the move to postpone the match was taken following medical advice.
“The board agreed to rearrange the game as a precaution, and further testing will now take place tomorrow,” the statement said.
“The decision has been taken with the health of players and staff the priority.”
A day after Walker and Jesus’ positive tests were announced, Man City played Newcastle at home on Boxing Day, winning 2-0.
The Everton fixture is only the second Premier League game to be called off because of positive tests for coronavirus since Project Restart began towards the end of the first UK lockdown.
The match between Aston Villa and Newcastle, which had been set to take place on 4 December, was postponed due to COVID cases within the Newcastle camp.
Meanwhile, a case of COVID-19 has also been confirmed in the Arsenal camp.
The north London club revealed in a squad update on Sunday evening that Brazilian defender Gabriel had tested positive and would now self-isolate in accordance with government rules.
The centre back missed Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day, after coming into contact with someone who tested positive.
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