It is the first top-flight fixture of the 2020/21 season to be postponed by Covid-19, with “several Newcastle United players and staff members now self-isolating at home after returning positive test results in recent days”.
Following confirmation of a significant increase in positive tests, Newcastle lodged a request to postpone the match, which was approved by the Premier League Board. The squad has not trained since last week, with manager Steve Bruce revealing that three individuals had tested positive prior to the club’s victory against Crystal Palace. Since then, that number is understood to have risen into double figures.
A statement released by Newcastle read: "Despite previously experiencing only a very small number of isolated Covid-19 cases, positive test results have risen sharply in recent days.
❌ #NUFC's fixture at Aston Villa on Friday has been postponed following a significant increase in Covid-19 cases at the Magpies’ Training Centre.
A new date and time for the game will be confirmed in due course.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 1, 2020
"Accordingly, the club is now is working with Public Health England North East (PHE), local health authorities and the Premier League in line with Covid-19 protocols to identify the source of the outbreak and to ensure the risk of further transmission continues to be minimised.
“All players and training ground staff will be re-tested this week and a meeting between the club, Premier League and PHE will take place to assess the test results.”
The Premier League confirmed that the decision to postpone the fixture had been agreed with Aston Villa, following extensive consultation between PHE and the league’s medical advisors.
A Villa statement added: "We would like to thank both the Premier League Board and Newcastle United for their comprehensive and transparent communication during the process which resulted in this decision being reached.
"Everybody at Aston Villa wishes a speedy recovery to all those at Newcastle United affected by the virus."