Aston Villa reports ‘significant’ COVID-19 outbreak

Aston Villa's Keinan Davis scores his side's third goal of the game

Derby's first-team squad will miss Saturday's FA Cup tie at Chorley after an outbreak closed their training ground on Monday.

League Two side Queen's Park welcome Queen of the South for a majestic battle at Hampden on Friday night and if that game doesn't survive the freezing conditions then not many will.

But the third-round tie has not been postponed as the club said they were working closely with the Football Association to try to ensure it can go ahead as scheduled.

But professional sport in England can continue behind closed doors, the government said.

Championship (second-tier) side Middlesbrough also said preparations for their third-round match at Brentford had been affected after a number of their first-team players and staff tested positive.

FA Cup preliminary rounds saw "walkovers", which will be an option for the Southampton tie if the FA's Professional Game Board decides it can not be played and is forfeited by Shrewsbury.

"There are moments when young people will stray from the rules", Villa chief executive Christian Purslow told Sky Sports, "and, whether you're a parent or the chief executive of a football club, that's a time when you have to be very strict and remind people of their responsibilities".

"I fear football might succumb in the next few weeks, " England great and TV pundit Gary Lineker said Thursday on Twitter.

Covid deaths at record high as European Union approves second vaccine
Margaret Keenan, 90, received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry, England, on 8 December. But with the virus threatening to spiral out of control, some argue we're in far from an ideal situation.

The Manchester City women's match against West Ham was called off after City reported "four positive COVID-19 cases and a number of other mitigating factors".

The league might investigate the circumstances of outbreaks within teams to discover the cause and assess if action has to be taken.

USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen again stepped in for Ederson - out after contracting the virus - to start in City's 2-0 win over Manchester United in the League Cup on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, reserve goalkeeper Scott Carson and midfielder Cole Palmer were added to the positive list.

If the match goes ahead, Liverpool will travel to Villa Park on a poor run of form having won just two of their last six outings.

Anyone coming into contact with players on transport used to get to games will also have to test negative in advance for COVID-19.

Three Premier League matches were postponed last week due to outbreaks at Manchester City and Fulham.

A number of Derby's first-team and staff returned positive tests for Covid-19 on Monday, with the training facilities subsequently closed.

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