The English Football League will test players from all its 72 clubs for the coronavirus on a twice-weekly basis from Monday after the Professional Footballers’ Association agreed to fund the programme.
The EFL is responsible for all three divisions below the Premier League, with numerous matches under its jurisdiction postponed this season because of Covid-19 related problems.
This has led to calls for it to introduce a more thorough testing regime or risk a suspension of the programme in the Championship, League One and League Two.
At present, the EFL was operating a policy of testing at “strategic” points in the season — including this week — with individual clubs allowed to test more often if they wished.
It is hoped a move to a more uniform approach will allay fears and allow the league to continue at a time when some clubs have called for a “circuit breaker” with a new, highly transmissible strain of coronavirus circulating throughout England.
A joint EFL and PFA statement issued Wednesday said: “Medical advice continues to support that following these protocols is the most successful route to mitigating against the spread of infection.
“But given the emergence of a new strain of the Covid virus, it is acknowledged that additional testing where it is not currently happening may help with the early identification and isolation of asymptomatic individuals.”