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EFL and PFA Confirm Twice-Weekly Testing
Wednesday, 6th Jan 2021 17:04

The EFL and PFA have announced the introduction of twice-weekly Covid-19 testing across the Championship, League One and League Two clubs from next Monday.

Reports that the new programme was set to be put in place emerged earlier in the week.

Town boss Paul Lambert had been among those to have expressed their frustration with the lack of testing in the EFL which had been sporadic since football’s resumption and paid for by the clubs, many of whom are currently short on cash.

An EFL statement reads: “Today, the EFL and Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) have confirmed they will be introducing twice-weekly Covid-19 testing for all 72 clubs from Monday 11th January.

“The re-introduction of a League-wide testing programme follows this week’s round of mandatory coronavirus tests and is designed to complement the League’s recently enhanced matchday and non-matchday Covid protocols with funding provided by the PFA earlier this season.

“Medical advice continues to support that following these protocols is the most successful route to mitigating against the spread of infection but given the emergence of a new strain of the Covid virus, it is acknowledged that additional testing where it is not currently happening may help with the early identification and isolation of asymptomatic individuals. 

“The tests have initially been procured from the private sector and will be fully funded by the PFA following discussions that have taken place with the EFL across the past 72-hour period.”

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch said: “We have repeatedly maintained that adhering to the stringent protocols implemented during the re-start last summer and then across all clubs since the beginning of the season was going to be our best chance of beating the virus and to keep playing matches.

“Only last week we took the decision to enhance these to further minimise risk, though with the new strain of the virus taking hold across parts of the country, it is now clear from our discussions with our medical advisors and public health officials that additional testing, operated in conjunction with strict protocols, may prove beneficial in the immediate short-term.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the PFA for their support in helping us to finalise a position on testing across all three divisions on a twice-weekly basis.

“We will continue to review the situation and make any adjustments or changes as circumstances dictate with the health and well-being of our players and club staff the overwhelming priority.”

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor added: “In the light of the current increase in Covid-19 cases and the resulting further tightening of government regulations, the PFA and the EFL have agreed enhanced measures to help protect players, staff and their families.

“Football has provided temporary relief for many fans during the lockdown. PFA members, alongside millions of people, have worked hard and played a positive role throughout the pandemic.

“We believe that this comprehensive and expansive approach to testing will help support clubs and be an important factor in maintaining fixtures and ensuring that football can continue during this challenging period.”

The EFL’s medical advisors, Dr Richard Higgins and Dr Subhashis Basu, continued: “The emergence of a new variant of Covid-19 and the current speed at which the virus is spreading means we are going to have to be prepared to review and implement new practices to ensure we have appropriate measures in place at any given time.

“Lateral flow testing is an important adjunct in our ability to identify infected individuals at an early stage, particularly those with high viral loads as is more common with this new variant, as these people are thought to be most infectious.

“In addition to hand hygiene, through consistently reinforcing good behavioural practices including physical distancing, wearing facial coverings indoors, reducing time spent in enclosed areas and improving building ventilation, we are taking the most effective steps to reduce further transmission.”

Photo: Contributed

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Timefliesbyintheblue added 18:50 - Jan 6
Whow, what a welcome surprise. Credit where it is due, as it was not expected. In my view ALL professional leagues should have been treated the same from the beginning, but hey this should help going forward. Well done PFA

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