• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

UK increases COVID restrictions, raises doubts for Premier League

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

VIDEO SHOWS: COMMENT FROM BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY, MATT HANCOCK, STATEMENT FROM EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB, NEWS CONFERENCE WITH EVERTON MANAGER, CARLO ANCELOTTI, FILE FOOTAGE OF PREMIER LEAGUE HEADQUARTERS AND PREMIER LEAGUE STADIUMS

SHOWS:

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (DECEMBER 30, 2020) (PARLIAMENT TV - ACCESS ALL, NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS USE ONLY, CANNOT BE USED FOR LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT OR SATIRICAL PURPOSES, PARTY POLITICAL BROADCAST USAGE MUST BE CLEARED WITH PBU)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY, MATT HANCOCK, SAYING:

"Sharply rising cases and the hospitalisations that follow demonstrate the need to act where the virus is spreading and you'll have seen Mr speaker that yesterday alone 53,135 new cases were registered, the majority of which are believed to be the new variant. Unfortunately, this new variant is now spreading across most of England and cases are doubling fast. It is therefore necessary to apply tear four measures to a wider area including the remaining parts of the south east as well as large parts of the Midlands, the North West, the North East and the South West and I've laid a comprehensive list in the library of the house and published on gov.uk. Even in most areas not moving into tier four cases are rising too and it's therefore necessary to apply Tier 3 measures more broadly too; including in Liverpool and North Yorkshire. The rest of Yorkshire remains in tier three. These changes will take effect from one minute past midnight tomorrow morning (0001GMT). The new variant means that three quarters of the population are now going to be in tier four and almost all of the country in Tiers 3 and 4 and I know that Tiers 3 and 4 measures place a significant burden on people and especially on businesses affected but I'm afraid it's absolutely necessary because of the number of cases that we've seen. But where we're still able to give places greater freedoms we will continue to do so."

INTERNET (DECEMBER 30, 2020) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)

2. MESSAGE POSTED ON EVERTON FC'S TWITTER PAGE, READING (English): "WE CAN CONFIRM THAT, FOLLOWING THE GOVERNMENT'S ANNOUNCEMENT THE LIVERPOOL CITY REGION IS MOVING INTO TIER THREE OF THE NATIONAL COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, WE WON'T BE ABLE TO WELCOME FANS TO GOODISON UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, INCLUDING FRIDAY'S GAME WITH WEST HAM"

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (DECEMBER 30, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EVERTON MANAGER, CARLO ANCELOTTI, SAYING:

"I think that it's a difficult moment. It's a difficult moment not for the club, no not for football. It's a difficult moment for the country and so I think that we have to take care of this, we have to follow the protocols and I think that not all the people is following the protocol. Not all the people wear the mask. Not all the people take social distance and so the first of all of this we have to follow this and after that I'm not in the right position to decide if we have to play or not. I think that the fact that football in this moment play is good for the people because a lot of supporters unfortunately has to stay home - me too - and the fact we have matches on TV I think it is good."

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EVERTON MANAGER, CARLO ANCELOTTI, SAYING:

"I think that the protocol that the Premier League put in place it is a good protocol, I think; really good protocol. We feel safe in our bubble. We feel safe. I feel safe in our bubble but outside I have to pay attention like all the normal people has to pay attention because I move, I walk and not, I think that not all the people… I was surprised yesterday I was walking and not a lot of people wear the mask. Also, if it's outside it doesn't matter. The moment is really particular moment.

6. WHITE FLASH

7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EVERTON MANAGER, CARLO ANCELOTTI, SAYING:

REPORTER, ASKING: "The club asked for full information from the Premier League do you know if you've received that yet and if not, when will you expect it?"

"No, we didn't receive it yet the further information but I think it's soon we are going to have this but until now, no."

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - OCTOBER 14, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

8. VARIOUS OF PREMIER LEAGUE HEADQUARTERS BUILDING IN LONDON

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - JUNE 25, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

9. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF ANFIELD

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - FEBRUARY 19, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

10. ETIHAD STADIUM SIGN ON EXTERIOR OF MANCHESTER CITY STADIUM

11. EXTERIORS OF STADIUM

12. VARIOUS OF EXTERIORS OF CITY STORE

13. STADIUM SIGN

14. STADIUM

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - MARCH 28, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

15. MANCHESTER UNITED SIGN ON OLD TRAFFORD STADIUM

16. EXTERIOR OF OLD TRAFFORD STADIUM

17. STATUE OF FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER, MATT BUSBY OUTSIDE THE STADIUM

18. MANCHESTER UNITED SIGN ON EXTERIOR OF STADIUM

19. EXTERIOR OF STADIUM

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - MARCH 13, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

20. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF ARSENAL'S EMIRATES STADIUM

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

21. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF CHELSEA'S STAMFORD BRIDGE GROUND

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - NOVEMBER 20, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)

22. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM

23. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR CLUB CREST

24. IMAGES OF PLAYERS INCLUDING CLUB CAPTAIN HARRY KANE

25. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF STADIUM

STORY: Liverpool and Everton will have to host home games behind closed doors again after the Liverpool City Region was placed into Tier 3 of Britain's COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday (December 30).

British Health Secretary confirmed vast areas of England would now be in either Tier 3 or Tier 4 with a new variant of the virus is spreading across the country.

Both Merseyside clubs were the only top-flight clubs that were still allowed to host 2,000 fans inside their stadiums under Tier 2 restrictions. Under Tier 3 and 4 restrictions, all professional sporting events will be played behind closed doors until further notice.

Many other areas of England are now also moving into the toughest Tier 4 restrictions from 0001 GMT on Thursday (December 31).

While league leaders Liverpool play their next three games on the road, including an FA Cup tie at Aston Villa, the club said their next game at Anfield against title rivals Manchester United on Jan. 17 will now be held without spectators.

Everton will not be allowed to welcome fans on Friday (January 1) when they host West Ham United, while their FA Cup third-round tie with Rotherham United on Jan. 9 will also be behind closed doors.

The news comes a day after West Browmich Albion manager Sam Allardyce called for a temporary halt to the Premier League season to act as a "circuit break" amid rising COVID-19 cases at top-flight clubs.

Fulham's Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur that was scheduled to kick off at 1800 GMT on Wednesday had to be postponed just hours before kickoff due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the West London club.

The match is the third in the English top flight to be postponed due to COVID-19 cases after Newcastle United's trip to Aston Villa earlier this month was called off, as was Monday's (December 28) match between Everton and Manchester City.

The Premier League has said that 18 individuals tested positive for the novel coronavirus between Dec. 21-27, the most in a week this season, with Sheffield United reporting several new cases before Tuesday's (December 29) 1-0 defeat by Burnley.

Earlier on Wednesday before the new restrictions were announced in the UK, Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti made a plea to the public, urging them to follow the protocols put in place to curb the spread of the virus. The Italian also said he didn't favour a circuit break as having sport was good for so many fans who could watch it from home.

Ancelotti confirmed that Everton have not yet received a clarification from the Premier League fully explaining the reasons why Monday's match against Manchester City was called off.

The Premier League agreed to rearrange the game as a precaution after City lodged a request when fresh COVID-19 cases were detected in their squad but Everton asked for a "full disclosure" regarding the outbreak.

Premier League rules state that a game cannot be postponed unless a team has fewer than 14 players available. Monday's match was set to be played in front of 2,000 fans at Goodison Park.

(Production: Tim Hart)