Villa v Everton postponed due to COVID-19

The UK government wants to see no more of hugging celebrations in English Premier League fixtures.
The UK government wants to see no more of hugging celebrations in English Premier League fixtures.

Aston Villa's home match against Everton has been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Midlands club.

"Following the rescheduling of Villa's fixture against Tottenham Hotspur, which was due to be played last night, a significant number of players and staff remain in isolation," the Premier League said in a statement.

"As a result, the Premier League Board has agreed to Aston Villa's request to postpone their match on Sunday."

Newcastle United's postponed game at Villa has been rescheduled for January 23.

The fixture, which was due to take place at Villa Park on December 4, was called off due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Newcastle's training centre.

Meanwhile, the British government is increasingly alarmed by the sight of soccer players hugging and kissing in celebrations, risking coronavirus infections and the sport's ability to be allowed to continue during the latest lockdown.

Outbreaks at Premier League teams, forcing the postponement of matches, have heightened concerns about the avoidable - and very visible - close contact between players.

"Everyone in the country has had to change the way they interact with people and ways of working," Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston tweeted Wednesday.

"Footballers are no exception. COVID secure guidelines exist for football. Footballers must follow them and football authorities enforce them - strictly."

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Premier League has warned clubs that punishments will be handed out for flouting the rules.

Australian Associated Press