Premier League Covid-19 testing privacy protocols open to abuse
The paranoia appears to be growing in the Premier League.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc and death, it seems that the economic fallout from the virus is turning some Premier League sides against each other.
On Monday, May 18, the 20 Premier League clubs will sit on their latest conference call to discuss Project Restart.
However, prior to the meeting, the Times have revealed that some Premier League executives fear that others in the division could lie about the results of the Covid-19 testing.
Of course, this is an incredibly serious accusation, which suggests some Premier League clubs value money over health.
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) May 17, 2020
In recent weeks, as the likes of the Bundesliga have restarted, protocols around testing have become somewhat standardised. Included in that framework is how clubs react after finding a positive test.
While clubs publicly confirm any positive Covid-19 cases, the names of the individuals are kept private.
The Times confirm that the Premier League plan to follow those privacy protocols, however that’s lead some to fear the system could be abused:
The Times can reveal that the names of players who have tested positive will be sent to their clubs, and the Premier League will be told only the number of positive tests, not their identities.
That has led officials at some clubs to fear the system, put in place for reasons of medical confidentiality, could be abused by a club if a key player tests positive ahead of a big game but does not have symptoms.
Given the value of Premier League survival is about £200million, the fear is that a manager would be tempted to pick that key players regardless of the test result.
What would happen if a Premier League club lies about Covid-19 test results?
The answer is that we really don’t know.
The Times report that Premier League clubs have been told that they could face “heavy sanctions for serious breaches of new Covid-19 rules”.
Would such punishments be limited to fines? Or could clubs be kicked out of the Premier League for lying? We simply don’t know.
Also, one has to wonder about the standard of proof needed to confirm a club had lied about a Covid-19 test.
One has to assume that any club charged with such accusations would counter that the test results were the product of a faulty test.
Update on Norwich, Bournemouth & Aston Villa’s survival hopes
Staying in the Times, reporter Martyn Ziegler notes that today’s Premier League meeting will also try to reach a resolution on what the Premier League will do if the season is curtailed.
When the league was halted, Norwich occupied last place on 21 points, while Aston Villa (25 points) and Bournemouth (27 points) completed the bottom three.
Watford and West Ham both have 27 points, but they are above Bournemouth on goal difference.
Three options are on the table if the 2019-20 season can’t finish: points-per-game, weighted points-per-game or a ‘prediction’ method.
The Times note that Norwich City, Bournemouth and Aston Villa would go down according to the current points-per-game option.
Alternatively, West Ham United would be relegated instead of Bournemouth if the weighted option is preferred.
On the final ‘prediction’ option, the Times report:
(This is) a more sophisticated model (which takes) into account recent form and predict likely outcomes of matches.
That is more controversial as it relies on results always going according to form but one model produced by a New York-based maths professor would also mean the bottom three of Norwich, Bournemouth and Villa go down.
Premier League table as it stands:
|15||Brighton & Hove Albion||35||8||12||15||36||52||-16||36|
|16||West Ham United||35||9||7||19||44||59||-15||34|
This article was edited by Ben Green.
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