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The number of postponements in the English Premier League rose to five in a week on Thursday after two more matches were called off. A growing number of infections at Leicester led to its game against Tottenham being postponed hours before kickoff on Thursday.

An ongoing outbreak within Manchester United’s squad also meant its game against Brighton on Saturday won’t go ahead. COVID-19 cases at Brentford meant they were unable to host United on Tuesday, while Brighton-Tottenham on Sunday and Burnley-Watford were also postponed – reflecting the worsening health emergency in Britain as the omicron variant spreads.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank said he wants the weekend round of fixtures to be postponed to allow clubs to deal with the outbreaks. Frank was informed midway through his news conference on Thursday, ahead of Brentford’s away match at Southampton on Saturday, of four more cases of the coronavirus among players and staff at the club. That took the total to 13.

“We should postpone the full round of Premier League games this weekend,” Frank said. “COVID cases are going through the roof at all Premier League clubs, everyone is dealing with it and having problems.

“To postpone this round and also (next week’s English League Cup) round would give everyone a week at least, or four or five days to clean and do everything at the training ground so everything is clean and you break the chain.”

Frank said postponing this weekend’s round could be enough to ensure the busy festive program in the division will be able to go ahead largely as planned.

“”We fully respect that we want to play and it is important football keeps going. This way we can make sure Boxing Day keeps going, I’m 100 per cent sure of that.

“This omicron variant is running like wildfire around the world and I think we need to do all we can to protect and avoid it. We can do a lot by closing down training grounds for three, four or five days, and then we can go again.”

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India today

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