Prem boss wants January signings banned from playing rearranged Covid games

Ralph Hasenhuttl reacts during a defeat for Southampton

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl believes the Premier League should consider preventing January signings from featuring in matches rearranged due to Covid over the past month.

Saints complained to the league over a lack of transparency after their game against Newcastle last Sunday did not go ahead because of a combination of Covid cases and injuries in Eddie Howe’s first-team squad.

Hasenhuttl also revealed that he raised the issue at the last Premier League managers’ meeting and also wants bosses in England’s top flight to consider banning signings from playing in rescheduled games to protect the division’s integrity.

Newcastle, as an example, completed a deal for Kieran Trippier on Friday and are expected to bring in more additions before the window shuts on January 31. All those signings would then be eligible to face Southampton in the rearranged match.

“It is for us the same,” Hasenhuttl said, as reported in The Guardian. “We can also now with our new owners sign three players and I don’t think it is really fair for them to play in games that have been postponed.

“I think the last word is not spoken so far. I was disappointed we could not play because we have been in good shape. We also had five cases of Covid.

“It is not long ago that we had to fill up our team with nine academy players. Then we got a big defeat against Man United.”

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Hasenhuttl wants Premier League rethink

Southampton take on Swansea in the FA Cup this weekend before facing Brentford in a rearranged game on Tuesday.

Hasenhuttl added: “I think it should maybe be something the Premier League is discussing.

“How many games have we had postponed? I think 16, 17 or 18 games so far. It is something that you cannot stop playing in December and wait for a signing in January to play.

“Nobody did this but it could in the future be an opportunity. You shouldn’t get that … We could now sign four players and against Brentford we could play with a completely different squad.”

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