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Premier League COVID-19 crisis: Southampton vs. Newcastle 18th game to be postponed

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Newcastle United's Premier League match against Southampton at St. Mary's on Sunday has been postponed due to COVID-19 cases and injuries in their squad, the league announced on Friday.

It is the 18th Premier League match to be postponed due to COVID-19 cases and injuries this month.

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"The Board accepted the postponement application as the club (Newcastle) does not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper)," the league said in a statement.

"The league is aware that the decisions recently to postpone matches will disappoint supporters, and understands their frustrations at a special time of year when fans look forward to attending and watching football games.

£The league aims to provide as much clarity as possible, but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is our priority. Where possible, the league will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk on a matchday."

Newcastle had their game at Everton postponed earlier this week after they were left with insufficient players to fulfil the fixture due to COVID-19 cases and injuries.

Southampton had their home game with Brentford on Dec. 18 postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the visiting squad.

The league only grants a postponement if a club has fewer than 14 players available, with the board examining requests on a case-by-case basis.

The Premier League announced on Thursday that Norwich's game at Leicester City on Saturday would also be postponed due to COVID-19 cases and injuries in the visiting side's squad.

Newcastle are second-bottom on 11 points, two points outside the safety zone, while Southampton are 13th on 21 after 19 matches.

The United Kingdom recorded 189,213 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, a daily record, and 332 deaths, as it continues to battle a surge in infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.