January 6, 2021 5.11 pm This story is over 40 months old

All EFL clubs to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week

It will be paid for by the PFA

By Local Democracy Reporter

All 72 clubs in the English Football League, including Lincoln City, Grimsby Town and Scunthorpe United, will be tested twice a week for COVID-19.

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) will fully fund the testing when it begins from Monday, January 11.

It comes as a re-introduction to a full league testing programme in order to be more vigilant against rising coronavirus cases.

All 72 clubs from the Championship, League One and League Two took part in mandatory testing on the week of January 4, and it has been decided that more regular testing will continue.

The EFL announced that additional testing may help identify cases quicker, as well as assisting the isolation of asymptomatic individuals.

Lincoln City were recently hit with a COVID-19 outbreak when their manager Michael Appleton and goalkeeping coach Steve Croudson had to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus on New Year’s Day.

The Imps’ First Team Manager Michael Appleton. | Photo: Lincoln City Football Club

Trevor Birch, chief executive of the EFL, said the decision was made with the health and wellbeing of players and staff in mind.

He said: “We have repeatedly maintained that adhering to the stringent protocols implemented during the re-start last summer.

“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.

“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.”

The testing will only be used by EFL clubs, meaning Premier League and non-league sides are not involved in this particular programme.

Due to new national lockdown restrictions, only elite sport is allowed to continue, meaning clubs in tiers 3-7 of the non-league football pyramid cannot play matches.

Of all the Lincolnshire football clubs, only Lincoln City, Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe United, Boston United and Gainsborough Trinity can carry on playing games.

The likes of Pinchbeck United, Spalding United, Grantham Town and Sleaford Town have had to pause their seasons until further notice.