Peterborough United chairman wants Covid rule breakers to forfeit matches and he reveals the Posh squad vaccination numbers

Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony believes EFL teams should forfeit fixtures if they don’t strictly follow the new rules and protocols when calling matches off because of positive Covid tests.

By Alan Swann
Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 11:00 am
Darragh MacAnthony.
Darragh MacAnthony.

Posh have been frustrated by the postonement of their Championship relegation six-pointer against Reading at the Weston Homes Stadium on Boxing Day because of Covid in the Royals’ camp.

MacAnthony is not pointing a suspicious finger at Reading, but he insists the EFL must vigorously check the medical records and squad number status of clubs who do postpone matches.

The EFL issued new rules at the end of last week and clubs are expected to play when they have ‘14 players including a goalkeeper available from the club’s registered squad list, under-21 players not on the squad list but have played one league match, or any other contracted player not on the squad list but otherwise would have been eligible to play.’

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MacAnthony wants clarification on the punishment for clubs who bend the rules.

“The EFL should have made the punishments clearer at the end of their statement last week,” MacAnthony said on his popular ‘Hard Truth’ podcast. “If clubs are only going to be fined then they will take their chances in calling games off.

“I’m not for one minute saying that’s what Reading have done, but we have 40 players when counting our under 23 squad so we would have to have 26 positive cases to get a game called off and that’s an awful lot.

“The EFL have all the squad details of their clubs and they have the lists of under 23 players so they need to be checking test results and injury records to make sure clubs are abiding by the rules.

“If clubs are not playing by the rules then they should be made to forfeit games. If that was the case I guarantee fewer games would be called off.

“We called off all our Christmas matches last year because of Covid, but we didn’t know so much about the viruis then and we have since had an extensive vaccination programme. We were all tested on Tuesday and we still have the four cases we had before the Blackpool game last weekend.”

Defenders Mark Beevers and Benjamin Mensah, plus Conor Coventry and Idris Kanu were the four victims.

MacAnthony revealed the Posh squad are 80% vaccinated. He doesn’t believe players should be forced to have jabs though.

“I saw one pundit calling out players recently for not getting vaccinated which was wrong,” MacAnthony added. “Footballers kept playing through the pandemic which meant pundits could keep earning their millions. If I was a player I’d blank those pundits who have been vocal in their criticism regarding vaccinations.”