EFL announce increased testing programme to control virus

Swansea City chairman Trevor Birch (right)

Trevor Birch, right, has been named the new EFL chief executive - Credit: PA

Twice-weekly Covid-19 testing will be introduced from Monday for all EFL clubs including Norwich City. 

The re-introduction of the league wide testing programme, which will be funded by the PFA, follows this week’s round of mandatory coronavirus tests. 

It is hoped this testing along with enhanced matchday and non-matchday protocols will be able to ensure matches can continue despite the current circumstances. 

A statement on the EFL website said: “Medical advice continues to support that following these protocols is the most successful route to mitigating against the spread of infection but given the emergence of a new strain of the COVID virus, it is acknowledged that additional testing where it is not currently happening may help with the early identification and isolation of asymptomatic individuals.  

“The tests have initially been procured from the private sector and will be fully funded by the PFA following discussions that have taken place with the EFL across the past 72-hour period.”   

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch said: “We have repeatedly maintained that adhering to the stringent protocols implemented during the re-start last summer and then across all clubs since the beginning of the season was going to be our best chance of beating the virus and to keep playing matches. 

“Only last week we took the decision to enhance these to further minimise risk, though with the new strain of the virus taking hold across parts of the country, it is now clear from our discussions with our medical advisors and public health officials that additional testing, operated in conjunction with strict protocols, may prove beneficial in the immediate short-term. 

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“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the PFA for their support in helping us to finalise a position on testing across all three divisions on a twice-weekly basis.  We will continue to review the situation and make any adjustments or changes as circumstances dictate with the health and well-being of our players and Club staff the overwhelming priority.” 

PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor added: “In the light of the current increase in COVID-19 cases and the resulting further tightening of government regulations, the PFA and the EFL have agreed enhanced measures to help protect players, staff and their families. 

“Football has provided temporary relief for many fans during the lockdown. PFA members, alongside millions of people, have worked hard and played a positive role throughout the pandemic. 

“We believe that this comprehensive and expansive approach to testing will help support clubs and be an important factor in maintaining fixtures and ensuring that football can continue during this challenging period.” 

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