LEICESTER will continue playing their Premier League matches at the King Power stadium despite the city being put in lockdown.
The East Midlands club insist that they can safely train locally and play at their home ground despite a surge in coronavirus infections in the city.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday Leicester would be the only place in England not allowed to ease restrictions due to a spike in cases.
Rates of infection in the city now are said to be three times that of the town with the next highest rate.
So, while the rest of the country opens up on Saturday, the city’s pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will instead remain closed for two more weeks — until July 18 — at least.
Hancock said the new restrictions would have no impact on the Foxes’ scheduled Prem clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday.
But top-flight big wigs have admitted the League may not be able to be completed if Leicester’s coronavirus lockdown is extended.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are in action tomorrow at Everton and the club say they are on track to host the Eagles despite the city being clamped down with tighter restrictions
A Foxes spokesperson said: “The club has consulted with local authorities, its Safety Advisory Group and the Premier League, following the Government announcement on coronavirus measures in Leicester.
“All parties remain entirely satisfied that, through the continued implementation of our COVID operations plan, the club’s football operations can continue to safely function under existing protocols and there will be no greater risk posed to club personnel, visiting teams or our surrounding communities.
“Consequently, first team training will continue at Belvoir Drive and our forthcoming Premier League fixtures remain unaffected.”
Prem boss Richard Masters has conceded the possibility that a widespread out-break of the virus could force a curtailment that would end the season – and plunge the competition into a potential nightmare.
A number of clubs made it clear they would not accept relegation being imposed if either the Prem or Championship campaigns were not played out to a finish.
Masters said: “We can clearly cope with the situation in Leicester should it mean that the club can’t play home games for the foreseeable future or just this weekend. We can adapt to that.
“If it were to happen in multiple areas or the course of the virus creates other risks there is the chance we might not be able to complete the season.
Officials asked for more time to get the disease under control in Leicester after Public Health England identified 3,216 cases since the start of the epidemic – 944 in the last two weeks.
There have been outbreaks in food production sites, clothing factories and in large multi-generational households.
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