West Ham manager David Moyes has questioned the recent postponements of Premier League games because of coronavirus and wonders if the rules have changed since he tested positive earlier this season.
Tottenham’s clash with Fulham on Wednesday was the third Premier League game this season to be postponed due to the virus, with Aston Villa’s match with Newcastle earlier in December and Manchester City’s trip to Everton on Monday also called off.
The Premier League ultimately decides whether matches can or cannot be postponed and while there are not hard and fast rules – each game is judged on a case-by-case basis – the 2020/21 Premier League handbook states “permission will not be granted to postpone a league match where the applicant club has 14 or more players listed on its squad list available.”
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West Ham’s matches earlier in the campaign still went ahead when Moyes tested positive along with players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen in September, but recent cancellations have made the Hammers boss wonder if the rules are now different.
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“We understand and we’re not bemoaning in any way any of the games because that’s the fixtures. They didn’t stop the games when me and two players got Covid, but they’ve chosen now that it’s time they would do that,” Moyes said.
“I thought you had to have 14 players and the original point was to say that you would go into your academy and get players, so I don’t know if those rules have now changed.”
Moyes relishing Goodison Park return
West Ham travel to Goodison Park on New Year’s Day to face Moyes’ former side Everton, who have won their last four matches in the Premier League.
Moyes was in charge at Everton for 11 years and three months, guiding them to a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League in 2005 and the 2009 FA Cup final, and admits he still feels something when he returns to Merseyside.
“Well, I do because I think to manage any club for 11-and-a-half years, I mean I don’t know how often it will happen going forward in the future that managers will get the chance to do 11-and-a-half years at one club,” he said.
“But, you know, my club is now West Ham. I’m going to Goodison to win for West Ham now, that’s my job. I’ll do everything I possibly can to do it.
“But they’ll never take away my memories, and probably the biggest is the players I had through my time there. Great players, great to work with, really good characters, and I enjoyed my time very much.”
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Moyes has passed the one-year mark during his second spell in charge at the London Stadium and, after being brought in to avoid relegation last season, West Ham currently sit 10th in the Premier League table.
Everton will be without fans after Liverpool was moved from tier two to tier three of the government’s coronavirus restrictions from Thursday, but the Hammers boss still expects a difficult game.
“It’s a really tough game at Goodison, it always has been. Over the years, Goodison has never been an easy place for any team to go and win.
“I really enjoyed having that behind me when I was there. They’ve got an exciting team, they’ve spent an awful lot of money in recent years, the owners have certainly backed the managers and given them the opportunity to bring in the players they want.
“So that’s why I think Everton will now try to compete at the top end, so it’ll be a really tough game for us.”
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