Daniel Barnett 9pm - 10pm
Newcastle's Premier League game with Aston Villa postponed due to Covid outbreak
1 December 2020, 17:34 | Updated: 1 December 2020, 17:40
Newcastle United's Premier League match with Aston Villa has been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak at the Tyneside club.
The Magpies' visit to Villa Park on Friday becomes the first top-flight fixture to be called off because of Covid-19, excluding those that were postponed between March and June during the first national lockdown.
Newcastle, who currently sit 13th in the Premier League, have also been forced to close their Darsley Park training ground in the North East.
The club is due to host West Bromwich Albion on 12 December, however that fixture has also been thrown into doubt.
Several players and staff members are now self-isolating at home after testing positive for the virus, according to an NUFC statement.
Read more: England and Villa's Jack Grealish admits two careless driving charges
A club statement read: "With the Magpies' first team currently unable to prepare for the match as a group, Newcastle United lodged a request with the Premier League to postpone the fixture at Villa Park, which has been approved by the Premier League board.
"Despite previously experiencing only a very small number of isolated Covid-19 cases, positive test results have risen sharply in recent days.
"Accordingly, the club is now is working with Public Health England North East (PHE), local health authorities and the Premier League in line with Covid-19 protocols to identify the source of the outbreak and to ensure the risk of further transmission continues to be minimised."
All team members and staff will continue being tested this week and a meeting will be held between the club, the Premier League and PHE to assess the results.
"The club will not be naming individuals who have contracted Covid-19 and asks that their privacy is respected," the statement added.
A Premier League statement read: "Newcastle lodged a request with the Premier League to rearrange the game following a significant increase in Covid-19 cases at the club which resulted in Public Health England North East (PHE) advising that their training facilities remain closed.
"The Premier League Board agreed, as a consequence, that the club are unable to train and adequately and safely prepare for their match on Friday.
"The decision has been taken in consultation with Newcastle United and Aston Villa, and following extensive consultation with PHE and Premier League medical advisors, with the health of players and staff the priority."
The statement added: "The Premier League wishes those with Covid-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture against Aston Villa in due course."
A Villa statement added: "We would like to thank both the Premier League Board and Newcastle United for their comprehensive and transparent communication during the process which resulted in this decision being reached.
"Everybody at Aston Villa wishes a speedy recovery to all those at Newcastle United affected by the virus."