The National Football League announced on Friday that three games will be cancelled this weekend owing to an increase in Covid-19 cases among players and as the virus’s new omicron strain spreads across the country.
The NFL’s decision, which is the first postponement of professional football games this season, comes as the NHL announced it will postpone games for several teams for the same reason, and just days after the NBA postponed two games involving the Chicago Bulls due to a Covid outbreak that affected ten players.
In the last week, more than 100 NFL players have reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Raiders’ game against the Browns in Cleveland, which was originally planned for Saturday, will instead take place on Monday afternoon. Two Sunday games, the Seahawks vs. the Rams and the Washington Football Team vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, will be rescheduled for Tuesday night.
The NFL said in a statement that “We have made these schedule changes based on medical advice and after discussion with the [National Football League Players Association] as we are seeing a new, highly transmissible form of the virus this week resulting in a substantial increase in cases across the league.”
The league stated, “We continue to make decisions in consultation with medical experts to ensure the health and safety of the NFL community.”
The NFL amended its coronavirus procedures on Thursday, stating that “the changes we are making today aim to address the increase in cases and the advent of the Omicron variant.”
The league announced that all clubs will be required to “implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel.”
“The return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19,” according to the NFL.
The NHL announced on Friday that the Calgary Flames’ game postponements will be extended until the team’s previously scheduled game against the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
The NHL also announced that the games of both the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers will be postponed until the end of the NHL’s holiday break on December 26.
Six Flames games will be postponed, four Avalanche games will be rescheduled, and three Panthers games will be rescheduled.
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