Antonio Conte admits Premier League encounter feels like a ‘waste of time’ – Update News Sport

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Pressed on whether he felt Thursday’s meeting was a waste of time, Conte said: “I think so. Because when you have a wall in front of you, you can ask and speak about what you want, but every decision was taken”; Dean Smith says schedule is “lunacy” as Norwich face two games in 48 hours

Antonio Conte says he felt as though Thursday’s meeting with the Premier League was a ‘waste of time’.

Player welfare and fixture list congestion were among some of the big concerns of managers and coaches heading into a special meeting with the Premier League on Thursday.

Asked how he felt it went, Tottenham head coach Conte said: “I have to be honest I think that it was a meeting where we tried to speak, and some coaches tried to speak and ask about solutions.

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“But I think that everything was decided. And I think yesterday was a wall, and for this reason also I don’t want to go into the discussion.”

Pressed on whether he felt it was a waste of time, Conte said: “I think so. Because when you have a wall in front of you, you can ask and speak about what you want, but every decision was taken.”

Spurs had a Covid-19 outbreak at the club earlier this month which led to three games in all competitions being called off. Conte said he was worried about player fatigue if those who have recovered to play twice in three days.

“It is not easy for us, it is not easy for all the teams to play after only one day, it’s not simple. You have to manage the situation very well because of the risk of losing players to injuries,” Conte added.

“We have to pay great attention, especially my team. Don’t forget we had half our squad (out) with Covid… When you get Covid, then you have to live with this situation for two to three weeks after you are finished with Covid.

“If there is someone that has a bit of fatigue, it will be very important to have a good chat with the players because we have to manage this period.”

Conte said the players who were unavailable due to the recent outbreak are all now back in training ahead of the Boxing Day visit of Crystal Palace, with only Cristian Romero and Ryan Sessegnon currently sidelined.

Following calls from managers for transparency over why some matches have been called off and some have not, the Premier League has published guidance to explain its protocols for postponing fixtures.

Clubs have been told they must provide the following information when applying for a game to be postponed:

Details of players and staff who have Covid, their vaccination status and – if known – the source of their infections
Players and staff unavailable through injury and illness
Players on the squad list who are still available, including ‘appropriately experienced’ U21 players
Medical information to verify status of each unavailable player, which will be reviewed by the Premier League’s medical advisers

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The Premier League will then consider the following factors when deciding whether to grant the request:

Impact of Covid infections, injuries, illness and isolation on the squad, plus the number of first-team and ‘appropriately experienced’ U21 players available
Matches will be postponed if a club does not have at least 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper available
Status of any Covid outbreak at the club, including the number and source infections, and the proximity to the match
Club’s ability to safely prepare its players
Medical advice over whether there is an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match
Advice from UK Health Securities Agency and other public bodies
Other exceptional circumstances
Smith: Two games in 48 hours is ‘lunacy’
Dean Smith, the Norwich head coach, says it is “lunacy” to expect teams to play two games in 48 hours as clubs continue to be hit by coronavirus outbreaks.

The Canaries’ Premier League match at West Ham was called off last weekend because of the on-going Covid-19 issues, with just four of the scheduled 10 top-flight games able to be played as scheduled.

Liverpool’s clash with Leeds and Watford’s trip to Wolves on Boxing Day have both been postponed.

Norwich are set to host Arsenal on Sunday, and then play Crystal Palace on December 28. Smith, though, believes that is an unreasonable expectation.

“We have some fresh cases, but we have got others coming back. We are not sure how many will miss Boxing Day,” he said.

“We are having to push rehab forward and people are breaking down in rehab because of that. It is asking massive questions of everybody’s squads at the moment.

“It is lunacy that we are having to play two games in 48 hours and there has got to be a question about the integrity of the competition when teams are playing weakened teams against other teams and it is affecting league positions.”

Smith had requested Norwich’s previous game against his former club Aston Villa also be called off because of Covid-19 issues and injuries in the squad.

The Norwich boss revealed he felt “it was bordering on negligible” for him having to field the likes of Sam Byram, who was rushed back into action following a lengthy injury lay-off when sent on as an emergency substitute during the 2-0 defeat.

“I think we are in a dangerous situation now, where we are risking the health and welfare of the players,” said Smith.

Everton had an initial request to postpone the game rejected on Thursday despite boss Rafael Benitez claiming he only had nine outfield players fit; Liverpool vs Leeds and Watford vs Wolves have already been called off

Everton had an initial request to postpone the game rejected on Thursday despite boss Rafael Benitez claiming he only had nine outfield players fit.

But a statement from Everton on Friday said: “Our Premier League fixture at Burnley on Boxing Day has been postponed due to the number of COVID cases and injuries in our squad.”

Following calls from managers for transparency over why some matches have been called off and some have not, the Premier League has published guidance to explain its protocols for postponing fixtures.

Clubs have been told they must provide the following information when applying for a game to be postponed:

Details of players and staff who have Covid, their vaccination status and – if known – the source of their infections
Players and staff unavailable through injury and illness
Players on the squad list who are still available, including ‘appropriately experienced’ U21 players
Medical information to verify status of each unavailable player, which will be reviewed by the Premier League’s medical advisers
The Premier League will then consider the following factors when deciding whether to grant the request:

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Impact of Covid infections, injuries, illness and isolation on the squad, plus the number of first-team and ‘appropriately experienced’ U21 players available
Matches will be postponed if a club does not have at least 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper available
Status of any Covid outbreak at the club, including the number and source infections, and the proximity to the match
Club’s ability to safely prepare its players
Medical advice over whether there is an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match
Advice from UK Health Securities Agency and other public bodies
Other exceptional circumstances
More to follow….

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