Leicester lockdown puts Premier League contingency plan to the test

June 30 – The Premier League has drawn up a contingency plan for Leicester City’s home fixture with Crystal Palace because of the government-enforced local lockdown in the city. A postponement has not been ruled out. 

From Saturday, coronavirus restrictions will be lifted further in England, but officials have recommended the current lockdown measures remain in force in Leicester for an extra two weeks due to a spike in cases.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the game will go ahead, but Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the game could be moved or postponed to a later date if needed.

Masters said: “If what is happening in Leicester, we are waiting to hear, does affect the club’s ability to host home games, either this Saturday against Crystal Palace or subsequent matches, then we have contingency to put those matches elsewhere or postpone them until a date when it is safe to do so.

“Of course contingency plans are discussed and part of our overall planning. I am yet to understand what the impact of the partial lockdown in Leicester is going to have on the club but clearly it demonstrates the fragile project we have on here. We cannot take it for granted.”

The Premier League is confident that all its stadiums are secure. Before the league’s resumption, clubs agreed to use neutral venues in the event their games could not be played at home.

Hancock had pointed out that Leicester had “10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week”. In the city, non-essential shops have closed and on Thursday schools will also close their doors. Pubs and restaurants will remain shut.

On Wednesday, third-placed Leicester travel to Everton.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1600532990labto1600532990ofdlr1600532990owedi1600532990sni@o1600532990fni1600532990