Soccer-Chelsea manager Tuchel calls for transparency on COVID-19 postponements


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Carabao Cup - Semi Final - First Leg - Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - January 5, 2022 Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel reacts Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel called on the Premier League to be more transparent in decisions over games being postponed due to COVID-19, after Leicester City's Premier League match at Everton was called off on Sunday.

Leicester had a depleted squad due to COVID-19 cases, injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. It is the 19th Premier League match to be postponed this season.

"I doubt you can postpone a match because of Africa Cup of Nations, that would be a big surprise," Tuchel told reporters before Chelsea travel to Tottenham Hotspur for Wednesday's League Cup semi-final second leg.

"All the details in the regulations, I have to admit, I am not aware of. Transparency most of the time helps and in these positions it would help to make people understand why... It would be nice for everybody."

Liverpool's semi-final first leg against Arsenal last week was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak but manager Juergen Klopp said it included many false positives, with Trent Alexander-Arnold the only confirmed case.

"I believe him and people will look into it. It can happen. We had one false test in Wolverhampton, one false result of a test to send Jorginho straight home," Tuchel said.

Chelsea had asked to postpone their league game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Dec. 19 after seven positive cases depleted their squad but the request was turned down.

"When we arrived in Wolverhampton we had a big case and had actually seven positive, who were positive. We thought we had the possibility to postpone one match," Tuchel added.

"Decisions were taken. You know my opinion about it but I will not comment on other club situations. We struggled, we still can struggle at any time like anybody can."

Tuchel added he would make a late decision on the availability on Thiago Silva and N'Golo Kante, who missed the first leg of the semi-final after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

Chelsea took control of the tie after winning the first leg 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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