Chelsea Close Academy After Spike In Covid-19 Cases

By Ibrahim Taiwo , The Nigerian Voice Sports

Chelsea have closed their academy building and instructed players and coaches to stay at home for a week after an outbreak of 20 cases hit the club.

Frank Lampard's first-team squad and Emma Hayes' women's side will be unaffected due to separate bubbles being implemented at Cobham.

However, the Premier League is now in discussions about rearranging the development squad match with West Ham and the Under-18s match with Brighton that were due to be played this weekend.

Chelsea will keep the situation under constant review and those affected are self-isolating at home in line with government guidelines, with staff, players and families being kept informed.

The situation in part is due to Chelsea's insistence on testing all Under-23s players regularly and more widely within the academy.

There is also a new variant of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom that is more contagious and has led to an estimated one in 30 Londoners carrying the disease.

The stoppage comes after the academy players were allowed two weeks off between Christmas and New Year due to a lack of fixtures.

Lampard had called up several academy stars to his first-team squad in that period, but they are not among those affected having been tested ahead of the FA Cup win over Morecambe.

With at least another week away from the training facility, players will be provided home workouts and the building will undergo a deep clean ahead of their return.

Chelsea have also seen their clash with Fulham moved from Friday evening to Saturday due to the impact of coronavirus on the football calendar.

The decision to move the match came after Tottenham's match with Aston Villa was postponed and replaced with a game against Fulham. In accommodating the previously cancelled fixture with Jose Mourinho's side, Fulham's match with Chelsea has been put back by another day.

The renewed challenges have led to the Premier League and FA to impose enhanced protocols to ensure that the league doesn't stop despite renewed challenges. (Goal)