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Chelsea forced to close academy after major COVID-19 outbreak

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Chelsea have been forced to close the doors to the academy building at their Cobham training base after as many as 20 positive cases of COVID-19 were detected at the club.

The Blues are one of the few Premier League teams to extend their COVID-19 testing to academies and young people, and test results received on Monday identified a major outbreak in the building.

That’s according to Athletic’s Simon Johnson, who notes that Cobham’s academy side is currently undergoing a deep clean and will remain closed to players and staff until at least the end of the week, when a new decision is made. taken.

Critically, this outbreak is not expected to impact Frank Lampard’s first team. Chelsea have kept their senior and academic teams in separate bubbles, with players currently not allowed to move between the two buildings without specific permission.

Academy players Jude Soonsup-Bell, Lewis Bate, Henry Lawrence, Tino Livramento and Tino Anjorin were part of Lampard’s senior bubble in preparation for the FA Cup third round match with Morecambe, but it is believed that the group traded bubbles before the outbreak.

Frank Lampard
Lampard’s first team should not be affected | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

Chelsea will obviously continue to test their senior players, but it is hoped that the only games that will be affected by this will be academy games, with the Under-23s and Under-18s having to be postponed.

The development team are set to face West Ham on Friday, but that game now appears to be called off, while the Under-18 reunion with Brighton on Saturday may well follow if Chelsea cannot get the situation under control sooner.

Prior to this outbreak, Chelsea had been relatively lucky when it came to COVID-19. Summer signing Kai Havertz tested positive in November and has publicly admitted to still struggling with the aftermath since, but it’s the only case of the virus the Blues have had so far.

It’s a bit sullen and gloomy, but if you want good news, Soonsup-Bell has confirmed on Twitter that he put pen to paper on a professional accord at the club.

The 17-year-old forward has been chased by a number of European giants, but a day after his birthday he committed his future to Chelsea.

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