COVID LATEST Portsmouth CEO Mark Catlin updates on coronavirus impact on squad after Jack Whatmough's positive test

Pompey have been given the coronavirus all clear after Jack Whatmough’s positive test.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 11:39 am
Updated Sunday, 20th December 2020, 11:57 am
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin

But Blues chief executive Mark Catlin admitted the threat of Covid-19 is now enveloping the club once again and looms over their season.

Catlin reported positive news, however, with no further Pompey players returning positive Covid-19 tests in the wake of Whatmough falling ill with the disease.

That means, as things stand, the game with Swindon on Boxing Day is continuing as scheduled behind closed doors.

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Whatmough is currently self-isolating in accordance with government guidelines, after returning a positive test after falling ill ahead of the win at Hull City on Friday evening.

Pompey have carried out further testing on players who came into close contact with the defender but not the whole squad, in line with EFL protocols.

And after they came back at negative the club are currently pushing vigilantly forward as usual.

Catlin said: ‘At this moment we haven’t had any further positive tests.

‘I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet because we’ve had a lot of false dawns already and not just Pompey but society in general and throughout football, as we’ve seen this week with Peterborough and Sunderland calling games off at short notice.

‘At this moment sport has been told it can carry on. There has not been anything else to the contrary, so we’re geared up and looking forward to the game against Swindon on Boxing Day.

‘The protocols are we have to test people who have been in direct contact with Jack. That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone who’s in the squad or out on the pitch.

‘You play other teams as well and they’d all need testing as well and so on, so there needs to be a level of consistency.

‘There is a defined list of what is regarded as ‘close contact’ and we’ve followed those protocols to the letter.

‘Our protocols are governed by the EFL, so people who have come into direct contact or are displaying any kind of symptoms are tested.

‘But there isn’t currently any requirement to randomly test or test the whole squad each week.

‘We just have to be vigilant and keep following the protocols at the football club and society and hopefully we’ll come through this terrible period.’

Catlin explained the news Portsmouth has now moved into tier 4 after the move by the government on Saturday evening does little to change the way the club are operating.

That’s after the move into tier 3 on Thursday meant the Blues’ home fixtures were moved behind closed doors.

Pompey’s season is currently continuing as scheduled, but Catlin acknowledged there’s legitimate fears over how long that will remain the case.

He said: ‘The change in tiers hasn’t really changed anything for us as a club.

‘We’re following the procedures which have been laid down by both the government and EFL and we will continue to do so going into tier 4, from an operational point of view.

‘At this moment it doesn’t appear to have changed anything because there are still exemptions around business. The restrictions appear to be geared towards leisure.

‘There’s a general diligence and vigilance but you’d have to be crazy not to see it feels like it did back in March and it feels like it’s spiralling out of control again.

‘It went for quite a while where it felt distant, but it now feels like it’s knocking on our door again.’

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