Leicester’s trip to Everton on Tuesday has been postponed for a second time after the Foxes successfully applied to the Premier League to have the match rescheduled due to a lack of players.
Despite fielding a side strong enough to beat Watford 4-1 in their FA Cup third-round tie at home to fellow Premier League opponents Watford on Saturday – a competition in which different rules apply – Leicester said coronavirus cases, injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations had left them short.
The match should originally have been played on December 19 only for it to be postponed after Leicester reported a rise in Covid cases.
“The Premier League board accepted Leicester City’s application as the club does not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), due to Covid-19 cases, injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations,” a Premier League statement on Sunday evening read.
“The board was able to make its decision in advance of the fixture to give clarity to the affected clubs and their fans.
“We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters who planned on attending and watching the game, and we are aware that postponements will disappoint fans.
“The League aims to provide as much clarity as possible, but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is our priority.
“Where possible, the League will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk on a matchday.”
The Premier League said it assesses applications for postponements on a case-by-case basis taking into a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the Covid-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match.
“The board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club representatives may come into contact with,” the statement added.
For the win over Watford, Leicester had eight senior outfield players available and manager Brendan Rodgers made nine changes, including fielding 20-year-old Vontae Daley-Campbell and 21-year-old debutant Lewis Brunt and naming six inexperienced players on the bench.
Speaking on Saturday, Rodgers said: “We’ve been stretched in terms of numbers and, for the integrity of the competition, we’ll assess where we’re at.”
The Foxes boss, who said he had 17 senior players in total unavailable, added: “You’ve seen for yourself the squad and the team that we have. We need to go in and assess it and see where we’re at in terms of players.”