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Eric Garcia becomes latest Manchester City player to test positive for Covid-19

Manchester City were without six players for Sunday's Premier League match against Chelsea; Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were confirmed on Christmas Day as having tested positive

Eric Garcia has become the latest Manchester City player ruled out due to a positive coronavirus test.

Pep Guardiola's side were without six players for Sunday's Premier League match at Chelsea, live on Sky Sports, while an unnamed member of City's backroom staff tested positive alongside Garcia on Sunday.

On Christmas Day, City confirmed defender Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus had contracted the virus and have launched an internal investigation after Benjamin Mendy appeared to break Covid-19 rules by hosting a New Year's Eve party.

City said in a statement before Sunday's match at Stamford Bridge: "Manchester City FC can confirm that Eric Garcia and one member of staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (Downloaded from PA) 0:32
Pep Guardiola says Man City currently have five players unavailable for Sunday's Premier League match against Chelsea

"Both personnel will now observe a period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine.

"Everyone at the Club wishes our colleagues a speedy recovery ahead of their return to work, training and competition."

The Premier League confirmed 18 positive coronavirus tests among players and staff in its latest round of testing - the highest figure of the season so far.

Covid-19 seems to once again have a growing impact with several recent games called off, including City's trip to Everton, Spurs' match at Fulham and Burnley's fixture against Scott Parker's side all postponed due to concerns over the virus spreading.

Sunday 3rd January 4:15pm
Sky Sports Premier League HDSky Sports Premier League HD
Man City to probe Mendy Covid-19 rule breach

City will launch an internal investigation after Mendy appeared to break coronavirus rules by hosting a New Year's Eve party.

City say they are "disappointed" by the incident although felt certain parts of the story had been "misinterpreted" by some sections of the media.

Man City are investigating reports Benjamin Mendy  broke COVID-19 rules
Image: Benjamin Mendy's breach of Covid-19 rules left Man City 'disappointed'

"The club is aware of a New Year's Eve Covid-19 breach involving Benjamin Mendy and the subsequent media reporting of it," City said in a statement.

"While it is understood that elements of this incident have been misinterpreted in the reports, and that the player has publicly apologised for his error, the club is disappointed to learn of the transgression and will be conducting an internal investigation."

What is the criteria for a postponement?

The Premier League Board ultimately decides whether matches can or can't be postponed. While there aren't hard and fast rules - each game is judged on a case-by-case basis - there are some guidelines.

The Premier League has lauunched a 'Matchday Support Fund' to help clubs effected financially by the coronavirus pandemic 2:19
The Premier League have responded to scrutiny over the process of postponing games

For instance, in the 2020/21 Premier League handbook, clubs have been told "permission will not be granted to postpone a league match where the applicant club has 14 or more players listed on its squad list available."

Teams were permitted earlier this season to name 25 players in their Premier League squad list - and that doesn't include registered U21 players.

Man City, for example, according to the Premier League website, named 20 players in their Premier League squad list. They currently have six players sidelined with coronavirus. That takes their Premier League squad list down to 14.

However, City may not even have had to drop below that 14-player level for their recent match with Everton to be postponed. The Premier League Board have said they took medical advice into consideration when deciding to call off that fixture, and there may have been other factors affecting their decision.

However, what we do know is that the Premier League Board only rearrange games in "exceptional circumstances".

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