Everton say they are seeking “full disclosure” about Manchester City’s COVID-19 outbreak which led to their Premier League match being postponed on Monday.
The game, which was set to be played in front of 2,000 fans at the Merseyside team’s Goodison Park stadium, was called off just four hours before kick-off.
The Premier League took the decision after Man City said there had been more positive coronavirus cases in its camp in addition to the four announced on Christmas Day.
Those earlier four included striker Gabriel Jesus, defender Kyle Walker and two members of the club’s staff.
Everton will be seeking clarification from the league about how the decision to postpone the game was reached given the timing and that they were told it was off rather than consulted as part of the process.
The side would have joined Liverpool at the top of the table on points if they had won the match.
A club statement said: “Everton Football Club regret the postponement of tonight’s match against Manchester City – not only for the 2,000 fans who would have been attending, but for supporters on Merseyside and across the world.
“Our players were prepared for the game, as were both the team staff and everyone at Goodison. Matchday is the most important date in our calendar. And this was a big one.
“Whilst Everton will always have public safety uppermost, we will be requesting full disclosure of all the information that Manchester City provided to the Premier League, so the club can be clear on why this decision was taken.”
Manchester City are scheduled to visit Chelsea on 3 January and meet local rivals Manchester United in the League Cup semi-final on 6 January.
City’s players will be tested for COVID-19 again on Tuesday, and the results of the testing will determine whether it is possible for the Chelsea fixture to go ahead.
A Manchester City statement read: “After the latest round of COVID-19 testing, the club returned a number of positive cases, in addition to the four already reported on Christmas Day.
“With the security of the bubble compromised, there posed a risk that the virus could spread further amongst the squad, the staff and potentially beyond.
“Based on strong medical advice the Premier League, in consultation with both clubs, have decided to postpone the fixture.
“All positive cases involving players and staff will observe a period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK government protocol on quarantine.
“The first team training ground at City Football Academy will close for an indeterminate period, with the squad and associated bubble undergoing testing before any decision is made for training to resume.”
A Premier League statement on Monday afternoon read: “Manchester City lodged a request with the Premier League today to rearrange the game following an increase in positive COVID-19 test results received by the club this morning, on top of the cases reported on Christmas Day.
“This rise has created uncertainty and the Premier League Board received medical advice that the match should be postponed. The Board agreed to rearrange the game as a precaution, and further testing will now take place on Tuesday.
“The decision has been taken with the health of players and staff the priority. The Premier League continues to have full confidence in its protocols and rules, and the way in which all clubs are implementing them.
“The league wishes those with COVID-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture against Everton in due course.”
Monday’s game was the second to be moved this season after an outbreak at Newcastle United led to the league calling off their match at Aston Villa earlier this month.