Extent of Sunderland AFC’s Covid-19 outbreak revealed
The extent of a Covid-19 outbreak at League One side Sunderland has been revealed after their three next fixtures were postponed.
The club has informed the EFL that it will be unable to fulfil their next three fixtures because of positive cases in the camp.
That means that planned fixtures against Shrewsbury Town, Blackpool and Hull City have all been called off.
One senior tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, which also led to seven others being forced to self-isolate in line with Government advice.
Sunderland attempted to have their fixture the following night, against AFC Wimbledon, postponed, but an agreement could not be reached because of “the lack of clarity regarding potential sanctions” for not fulfilling the tie.
The match went ahead, with the Black Cats taking a creditable point in the circumstances.
Because of the positive case, selected players and staff were tested again and a further four cases of coronavirus have now been confirmed, taking the total up to five.
All of the individuals who have tested positive, along with close contacts, are now self-isolating.
Additionally, the club have shut down their training ground with immediate effect, for a 10-day period.
Sunderland chief executive James Rodwell said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have informed the EFL that we are unable to play our next three league fixtures.
“The welfare of our players, staff and opponents remains the number one priority and following detailed conversations with the relevant authorities, we have also taken the responsible decision to close the Academy of Light for a 10-day period.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, I wish all of those affected a swift and complete recovery.”
Lee Johnson’s side are currently in ninth place in League Two, two points off the play-offs and four adrift of the automatic promotion places.
This Saturday’s trip to Shrewsbury is the first of the matches that will not take place, followed by a planned home tie on Blackpool the following Tuesday and a Boxing Day clash with Hull.
As it stands, the squad are scheduled to return to training on December 27, ahead of resuming their campaign two days later at Accrington Stanley.