Chelsea’s clash with Brighton and Hove Albion WILL go ahead despite a devastating outbreak of the bubonic plague. The rare but highly-infectious disease has left 16 players, as well as six members of Chelsea’s coaching staff, hospitalised, with at least four expected to die.
Chelsea filed a request over the weekend asking for Tuesday night’s tie to be postponed. However, Premier League bosses rejected their application, insisting that Chelsea give their U12s a chance – the only age group at Cobham currently unaffected by the outbreak. It’s understood, 11-year-old Archie Butler-Port and 9-year-old Duron Walker-Carter will join up with the first-team squad on Monday, pending the approval of their respective headteachers.
Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes is now likely to step in for the bedridden Thomas Tuchel, who tested positive for the plague on Saturday evening. Speaking from his hospital bed, Tuchel seemed irate, telling reporters via video link: ‘It’s a joke, we have 22 cases of the plague but apparently no case as far as the League is concerned. So much for player safety, I suppose.’
Elsewhere, Liverpool’s Carabao Cup clash with Arsenal has been called off after the mother of a Liverpool ball boy tested positive for Covid-19. The game will now take place after the conclusion of the African Cup of Nations.