The IFA has revealed that the Premier League has the option of rescheduling several postponed games this season during an international break later this month.
There is an international window between January 24 and February 2 and the 18 top-flight games postponed due to rising Covid-19 cases can be played then.
The international window, which ran from 24 January to 2 February, would not include European countries, and was seen by the league at the start of the season as an opportunity for any player not for international duty elsewhere to take a break. was called.
However, that 10-day period may be too valuable to hold now, and FIFA would not stand in the way of the Premier League if it chose to stage matches, provided clubs release non-European players if requested. .
A FIFA spokesman said: “In accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 1 of Annex 1 to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, the release of players is mandatory for all international windows listed in the international match calendar.
“Therefore, should the club and league decide to play on those dates, they will not be able to show any player who has been called up / is on international duty.”
Playing top-flight matches during the window can create issues around integrity, with some clubs more affected by call-ups outside Europe than others.
Many clubs are already vulnerable after releasing players for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on Sunday and runs until 6 February.
The Premier League has not commented on whether it intends to reschedule matches beyond the three that were allotted new dates last week – Southampton v Brentford, West Ham v Norwich and Everton v Leicester.
Ninety-nine percent of Premier League matches this season have been played as per schedule.
Starting Thursday, the league is dropping twice-weekly PCR tests on all players and staff, the PA news agency understands.
Clubs will continue to conduct daily lateral flow tests (LFTs) on training days, but PCR tests will only be done to confirm a positive lateral flow result.
It is understood to have been done completely independently of the change in the government’s approach to testing and isolation from routine PCR testing.
The UK’s Health and Safety Agency (UKHSA) announced on Wednesday that from 11 January an asymptomatic person who has tested positive for Covid-19 on an LFT will no longer need to undergo a PCR test to confirm the result, and That the period of their separation will start from the date of positive LFT.
Instead of waiting for the isolation period to begin once the result of follow-up PCR is known, the league will adopt new rules on isolation for asymptomatic individuals, when they come into force.
On 14 December, the Premier League introduced the requirement for daily lateral flow tests and twice-weekly PCR tests to deal with the threat posed by the highly permeable Omicron variant.
Earlier, clubs were conducting twice-weekly lateral flow tests and using PCR only to confirm positive cases.
The league announced on Monday that between December 27 and January 2, 14,250 COVID-19 tests were conducted on players and club staff, of which 94 (0.65 per cent) were positive.
This was the first decrease in eight weeks, with 103 positives recorded last week.
Meanwhile, the Football Association has revealed plans to start providing weekly updates on the number of players who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the top two tiers of women’s football.
Last season the FA shared weekly figures of people who contracted the virus in the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship and after tests conducted between 28 December and 3 January on players in the two divisions, 40 positive test results were recorded. were done.
The WSL returns this weekend after a three-week winter break, but West Ham’s scheduled home match at Manchester United has been postponed due to “multiple suspected positive COVID-19 cases” between players and staff at the London club Is.
PA. additional reporting from