Everton and Liverpool boost as EFL change stance over Covid-19 testing

The EFL have confirmed that twice-weekly Covid-19 testing for clubs will be introduced next week and funded by the PFA.

After a rise in the amount of clubs impacted by the virus following the discovery of a more contagious strain, the EFL have opted to change its previous stance and introduce twice-weekly mandatory testing for players and staff.

Clubs were tested this week in line with EFL regulations but, for many players and staff, it was the first time they had taken a test since November.

The EFL state that medical advice continues to support that Covid-19 protocols put in place by clubs should be enough to mitigate the spread of the virus but the new strain means testing should help identify and isolate asymptomatic individuals.

Some clubs already face two tests this week, with the FA supplying mandatory tests for this weekend’s FA Cup ties.

A large number of EFL clubs have been impacted by the virus so far this season, with Derby County’s entire first-team staff unable to play against Chorley in the FA Cup this weekend due to an outbreak of the virus.

In League One, Accrington Stanley have played just 16 times so far this season, having six games in hand on Burton Albion, who have played the most times in the division, due to Covid-19 and weather postponements.

It means the EFL have opted to introduce testing in an effort to limit the impact of further outbreaks on clubs.

The PFA are set to provide the funding for the tests, which will be obtained from the private sector.

It is a move that should benefit the likes of Liverpool, Everton and other Premier League clubs.

There were rows in the EFL Cup earlier this season, when EFL sides refused to be tested ahead of cup ties against Premier League clubs, even when their higher-league opponent offered to pay for the tests.

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EFL sides argued they were following regulations, whilst Premier League sides were fearful of playing against untested sides, particularly with testing mandatory in the Premier League.

Whilst the FA are providing tests for their own competition, regular EFL testing should minimise the chances of any outbreaks occurring ahead of FA Cup ties.

It means, should Liverpool or Everton draw an EFL side in the FA Cup this season, any repeat of the sorts of rows seen in the EFL Cup will be avoided.

Read More:Everton and Liverpool boost as EFL change stance over Covid-19 testing