Burnley’s Premier League game at home to Watford on Tuesday has been postponed because of a high number of players with injuries and Covid-19.
The Turf Moor club had requested postponement earlier on Monday, with manager Sean Dyche saying there were only 10 first-team players training.
League rules state teams must play if they have 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper available.
The Premier League has confirmed Burnley did not have enough players.
A Premier League statement offered an apology “for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters who would have attended or watched the game”. It added: “We are fully aware that postponements disappoint clubs and fans.”
The fixture was originally due to be played in December but was called off because of an outbreak at Watford.
The Clarets’ game against Leicester on Saturday was also postponed and 22 top-flight matches have now been postponed this season because of coronavirus.
As well as the original Watford fixture, Burnley had games against Aston Villa and Everton postponed in December because of Covid-19 cases among the opposing teams.
Before the latest postponement was confirmed, boss Dyche said: “I can assure you we don’t want to be three, four games behind everyone else.
“We’ve worked hard to get games on. To bring true competitive element to a league you need to put out a team that’s competitive. When you get to a point where you can’t, that needs to be looked at.”
Wood move ‘not a perfect scenario’ – Dyche
Dyche said losing Chris Wood to Newcastle was not a “perfect scenario” after the New Zealand striker signed for Burnley’s relegation rivals on Thursday.
Following the move, Wood, who had been at Turf Moor for four and a half years, said “nothing great ever happens in your comfort zone”.
Dyche said of the comment: “If he referenced his comfort zone I think it’s fair to say that – and I think he would know it certainly wasn’t us allowing him to sit in his comfort zone.
“If he felt that, I understand slightly. You maybe get a freshness, maybe difference, maybe he felt he needed that.
“I think he knows he was a bit quieter than what we expected from him – and from himself.”
‘Games cannot keep being called off’ – Analysis
BBC Sport’s Simon Stone
There is a lot of noise around the recent Premier League postponements but the league itself feels it is acting properly.
Firstly, there has to be a Covid element to the request. Secondly, it was the managers themselves around Christmas who were complaining that, with reduced squads, players were more likely to get injured. So, in the Premier League’s view, injuries are COVID related.
Clearly, those away at the Africa Cup of Nations cannot play either, so meeting the threshold of 13 outfield players plus a goalkeeper is not always straightforward.
In addition, the Premier League has received requests that were denied. We just don’t tend to hear about them.
The other point is transparency. It has been argued clubs should have to state why players are missing.
But there is a patient confidentiality element to this. The league cannot say who is injured and who has Covid unless the players themselves allow it. And while it might be easy to give numbers, you could accidentally show what absences are for what reasons – and why those players start to return.
Premier League medical officials do have access to the information and this is being used to frame decisions around postponements.
Clearly there will come a point when clubs are told they have to play. The season must finish on 22 May so games cannot keep being called off indefinitely.
I don’t think anyone wants to look that far ahead just yet. But there could be a situation where a club has five outstanding games to fit in – and the complaint about players having too many matches will be being aired again.