Manchester United Women will not travel to Malta for their short winter training camp due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the UK, the Times of Malta can confirm.
Last month, this website had reported that the talks between the Malta Tourism Authority and the Women’s Super League side were in an advanced stage and that there was huge optimism about the Red Devils heading over to the Maltese shores.
During their five-day training camp, Manchester United Women were expected to meet Malta’s Birkirkara women in a friendly match at the Tony Bezzina Stadium, on January 4.
Nonetheless, the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the UK forced the Red Devils to change their plans. The pandemic situation in England is currently considered as a very dangerous one with a number of men’s Premier League and Women’s Super League games being called off as well.
In fact, Manchester United men’s team is one of the most affected having had last week’s game against Brentford and this weekend’s matchup with Brighton being postponed.
“Training operations at the club’s Carrington complex have also been suspended for “a short period” to help reduce the risk of further transmission”, a Manchester United statement said when announcing the postponement of the Brighton game.
The British government on Friday reported 93,045 new coronavirus cases, a third consecutive record daily tally, as the Omicron variant fuels a surge in infections across the country. The latest data brings the total number of infections during the pandemic to more than 11.1 million, while the UK also registered a further 111 deaths from the virus, taking the death toll to more than 147,000.
Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Omicron is now the country’s dominant coronavirus strain, adding “the tsunami I warned about a week ago is now starting to hit us”. And Welsh leader Mark Drakeford told citizens to brace for the “storm of Omicron” having announced the country’s nightclubs will close after December 26 and social distancing reintroduced in shops and workplaces.
The Malta Tourism Authority had been in talks with Manchester United for several months as they looked to bring over the men’s side for a training camp to Malta in August, but their efforts have failed to come to fruition due to COVID-19 restrictions imposed during that timeframe.