Premier League pays for Covid-19 tests for lower league players before Cup ties

The Premier League has paid for players and staff at the three English Football League clubs still involved in the Carabao Cup to be tested for coronavirus, the PA news agency understands.

Newport, of Sky Bet League Two, will host Newcastle in the fourth round on Wednesday and Exiles boss Michael Flynn revealed ahead of the game they were waiting to discover the results of their tests for Covid-19.

“The testing has been covered by the Premier League,” Flynn said. “We’ve all been tested and the results will be back this (Tuesday) morning.”

It is understood the league’s organising body has also paid for Brentford and Stoke to test their players and staff this week, with testing at this stage of the Carabao Cup now mandatory.

Michael Flynn revealed the Premier League paid for Newport's players and staff to be tested for coronavirus this week
Michael Flynn revealed the Premier League paid for Newport's players and staff to be tested for coronavirus this week

The Bees host Fulham on Thursday in a repeat of the Championship play-off final, while the Potters travel to Aston Villa on the same night.

Hong Kong-based company Prenetics is in charge of the testing programme carried out on all players and staff at Premier League clubs on a weekly basis, handling the tests of Newport, Brentford and Stoke in a slight extension to the usual round of tests for the 20 top flight sides.

On Monday, it was revealed there were 10 positive coronavirus results in the latest round of Premier League testing, with West Ham boss David Moyes and players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen among that number.

Our Head of Medical Richard Collinge has explained the swift and decisive response to the positive COVID-19 tests returned for David Moyes, Issa Diop and Josh Cullen just after 6.20pm yesterday evening…

— West Ham United (@WestHam) September 23, 2020

Leyton Orient’s Carabao Cup third-round tie with Tottenham, scheduled for last Tuesday, was called off after the League Two club had an outbreak of cases.

Spurs were eventually awarded a bye but the incident has resulted in action, with EFL clubs not obliged to conduct mandatory tests on their players and staff for Covid-19 on a weekly basis, unlike the Premier League.

Tottenham paid for Orient to test their players and squad before the clash at the Breyer Group Stadium, but following discussions between the EFL and Premier League since that match was cancelled, protocols for the Carabao Cup have been aligned with the top flight.

It is now mandatory for the clubs still in the competition to test their players and staff for coronavirus and should Newport, Brentford or Stoke get through to their next round, they will undergo another round of testing.

That will not take place until later this year though, with the Carabao Cup – after three consecutive rounds of midweek ties in September – not set to resume until the week commencing December 21.