PREMIER LEAGUE

Man City duo test positive ahead of Premier League kick-off

Manchester City have confirmed that Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte have contracted the coronavirus, but what does a positive test mean for players and teams as we approach the start of the 2020/21 season?

Man City duo test positive ahead of Premier League kick-off

A statement released on the Manchester City website on Monday morning confirmed that Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte are observing a period of self-isolation having tested positive for Covid-19. Neither player has been involved in the current international break so it is likely that the tests were carried out by City, but the club have not revealed when the positive results were returned.

The City pair become the latest high profile Premier League stars to test positive for the virus after Paul Pogba and Tanguy Ndombele were confirmed to be out of contention for the France squad last week. Chelsea have also been hit with a number of positive tests as players returned from holidays during the close season. Chelsea have not named the players in question but the Telegraph has reported that eight players went into quarantine, with six of them having tested positive.

What does this mean for the players?

With the start of the new Premier League season now just five days away for most clubs, any positive tests will likely prevent players taking part in the opening fixtures. Manchester City, having competed in the Champions League into August, will not kick-off their league campaign until 21 September but Mahrez and Laporte will still miss a crucial part of their brief pre-season.

The UK’s current coronavirus regulations require anyone who has tested positive to self-isolate for at least 10 days, or 14 days if someone in the same bubble has also tested positive. Depending on when the positive tests were carried out this could mean that Laporte and Mahrez, both potential starters, could be in self-isolation until the eve of City’s opener against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

What does this mean for the clubs?

Football leagues around the world worked tirelessly to allow the return of professional football after the suspension and cancellation of the 2019/20 campaign. But with players now able to enjoy greater freedom while not training or playing the risk of contracting Covid-19 has grown.

The Scottish football league returned in early August and has already had to suspend games after players tested positive for coronavirus. The Scottish government stepped in to call off Aberdeen’s fixture against St Johnstone after two players were found to have the virus. Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon accused the Aberdeen players of "blatantly" breaking the rules with a visit to a bar after their opening game against Rangers.

FOOTBALL - SCOTTISH CHAMP - HIBERNIAN v ABERDEENLewis Ferguson (19) of Aberdeen FC is congratulated by his team mates after scoring a penalty during the Scottish championship Premiership football match between Hibernian and Aberdeen on 30 August 2020 at Easter Road Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland - Photo Malcolm Mackenzie / ProSportsImages / DPPI

Czech Republic’s Nations League campaign got off to a terrible start as they were forced to call up a completely new squad after an outbreak in the camp. A staff member tested positive after their 3-1 win over Slovakia on Friday night meaning that the whole group will now have to self-isolate. It is a nightmare situation for the Czechs who could only name two capped players in their entirely new squad to face Scotland in Olomouc this evening.