Barnsley unable to fulfil Blackpool fixture after Covid-19 ‘infiltrates’ Championship outfit’s squad

Barnsley have confirmed Saturday’s Championship clash at home to Blackpool has been postponed with the Reds unable to fulfil the fixture.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 3:09 pm

It is the club’s third successive postponement in the league after games against Stoke City on Wednesday and Nottingham Forest last week were called off, owing in part to positive coronavirus cases wreaking havoc with the UK’s sporting calendar.

"Alongside long-term injuries, a large number of players and backroom staff have tested positive for COVID-19,” said a Barnsley statement published on Thursday afternoon.

EFL rules state clubs must have a minimum of 14 players, including one goalkeeper, fit and available to fulfil fixtures.

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Barnsley have seen a second successive Championship match fall victim to Covid-19 (photo by George Wood/Getty Images).

New dates for the Blackpool and Stoke matches are yet to be arranged, with the game against Forest now set to take place on Tuesday, 25 January.

Relegation-threatened Barnsley are next due to play on 22 January when they take on Birmingham City.

The Tykes, who are eight points from safety, were able to field a team to play Barrow in the FA Cup third round last weekend – a game which saw manager Poya Asbaghi pick up his first win in seven attempts since taking charge in late November.

Barnsley’s statement in full

Barnsley’s chief executive officer, Khaled El-Ahmad said: “COVID-19 continues to test all individuals in all walks of life, be it logistically or financially. It was well documented following our FA Cup fixture that COVID-19 had infiltrated our squad. As the days progressed, it became clear that we would not be able to field a team on Wednesday evening and attention turned to quelling the outbreak and preventing further spread.

“I must note that it’s not just the playing staff that have been impacted, departments who interact on a daily basis with the players have also suffered. Thankfully, those individuals who returned a positive result remain in good spirits and are following NHS guidance closely.

“In light of Wednesday night’s postponement, we began asking questions regarding Saturday’s fixture. With the knowledge that this new variant is extremely transmissible, staff at Oakwell have respected the necessary guidance and plans to reduce potential transmission. I, of course share the frustration of our community, however the safety and well-being of our players and staff is of paramount importance.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please continue to stay safe.”