BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Ten players from Aston Villa's squad are isolating after testing positive for the coronavirus, forcing the club to field youth players for its FA Cup match against Liverpool on Friday.
Villa said the third-round game against the English champions will go ahead as scheduled at Villa Park despite the virus outbreak among the senior squad that led to the training ground being closed.
Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said there were 14 positive cases — 10 of which were players — from two rounds of tests, on Monday and Thursday.
After another round of testing for COVID-19, Villa confirmed Friday that the game will be played. The team will be filled with players from the under-18 and under-23 squads, with under-23 manager Mark Delaney leading the team in place of manager Dean Smith.
Villa's next game in the Premier League is against Tottenham on Wednesday, and Purslow didn't know whether that match would go ahead.
Three Premier League games — Everton vs. Manchester City, Tottenham vs. Fulham, and Burnley vs. Fulham — were postponed in recent weeks because of COVID-19 outbreaks among clubs.
Many more games have been called off in England's lower divisions.
On Friday, the English Football League, which runs the three divisions below the Premier League, reported 112 positive cases out of 3,507 players and staff members who were tested in the latest round of checks. That is an infection rate of 3%.
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