By Matt Hughes For The Daily Mail
Published: 22:30 BST, 6 September 2020 | Updated: 23:35 BST, 6 September 2020
Premier League clubs have been told they will be forced to fulfil fixtures in the event of Covid-19 outbreaks among their squads this season.
The Premier League's determination to get the congested 2020-21 campaign completed on time is such that clubs have been told requests for postponements will be rejected unless they have fewer than 14 players available, and that they will be obliged to utilise their Under 21 squads to ensure matches can be played.
The Premier League are yet to release the collated results of the Covid-19 testing that has been taking place at their 20 clubs during pre-season, but there was a rash of positive tests following players' summer holidays with at least 14 players across 12 clubs contracting the virus last month.
Premier League clubs will be forced to play even if they have Covid-19 outbreaks in squad
That sparked fears the start of the season this weekend was in jeopardy. But given the Premier League's extreme reluctance to call off matches and the high bar they have set for sanctioning postponements, a delay seems unlikely.
In guidance sent to clubs, seen by Sportsmail, it is spelt out by the Premier League that any youngster who has played a minute of first-team football for a Premier League, EFL or overseas club should be promoted to the senior squad to make up the numbers if necessary.