Premier League says no plans to pause season as COVID rates soar

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FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Newcastle United v Liverpool

LONDON (Reuters) - The Premier League is not discussing a possible pause to the season because of surging COVID-19 infections in England, it said on Wednesday.

Fulham's trip to Tottenham Hotspur was called off hours before kickoff on Wednesday with the club reporting several positive coronavirus tests, and an outbreak at Manchester City caused their game at Everton on Monday to be called off.

Several managers have suggested a pause would take the pressure off clubs, but the Premier League says it has no plans to do so.

"The Premier League has not discussed pausing the season," it said in a statement.

"The League continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled, and these protocols continue to have the full backing of Government.

"With the health of players and staff the priority, the League is also fully supportive of how clubs are implementing the protocols and rules."

Last season's Premier League season resumed without fans in June after a three-month suspension with Operation Restart deemed a success as clubs avoided major outbreaks.

But the move into winter has proved more challenging.

The Premier League said on Tuesday that 18 individuals had tested positive for the new coronavirus, the most in a week this season, with bottom club Sheffield United also reporting a number of new cases.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)