Reports indicate Sunday’s north London derby has been postponed, although we have yet to have official confirmation that the game is off (it’s expected imminently though).
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 15, 2022
Arsenal lodged an application for the postponement yesterday citing many players being unavailable “as a result of Covid, injuries and players away with their countries at AFCON.”
This is the first time this season Arsenal have successfully lobbied for a game to be called off due to a lack of personnel. The club’s only other application, ahead of our first game at Brentford, was dismissed despite a Covid outbreak in the squad.
As things stand, Arsenal have four fixtures to rearrange for a variety of reasons; the home game with Wolves (Covid in away team’s camp), the away game with Chelsea (clash with Club World Cup), the home game with Liverpool (clash with Carabao Cup final) and this north London derby.
It’s not ideal and is certainly going to lead to a very busy final third of the season but it is what it is…
The Premier League have published official confirmation. They say:
With Arsenal having fewer than the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), the Board accepted the club’s application.
The decision is a result of a combination of COVID-19, existing and recent injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. All clubs are able to apply for a postponement if COVID-19 infections are a factor in their request.
The League apologises for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters who would have attended or watched the game – we are fully aware that postponements disappoint clubs and fans.
The League aims to provide as much clarity as possible, but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is our priority. Where possible, the League will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk.
The Premier League’s postponement rules are designed to protect the wellbeing of players and staff, while maintaining the sporting integrity of the competition.
Club requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and adapted COVID-19 postponement guidance, implemented in light of the Omicron variant.
The Board examines a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of COVID-19; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match.
The detail within all applications is scrutinised by the League’s specialist staff before the Board makes its decision.