Premier League clubs must have at least four Covid-19 cases in their squad in order to request postponement of a fixture under stricter rules agreed today.
It follows concerns that teams were able to game the previous system, which has seen more than 20 games being called off in the competition this season.
The new rules will take effect immediately when the Premier League returns from its winter break on 5 February.
“Following a club meeting today, the Premier League’s Covid-19 match postponement guidance has been updated to include a Covid-19 impact threshold,” the organisation said.
“From now on, if a club applies to postpone a match on the grounds of insufficient players due to Covid-19, they must have a minimum of four positive cases within their squad.
“This guidance will come into effect ahead of the next Premier League fixture on Saturday 5 February (Burnley FC v Watford FC).
“Throughout the pandemic, the Premier League has adapted its guidance in response to the wider public health situation. The guidance was last updated in December in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant.”
The Premier League said it also hoped to phase out emergency Covid-19 measures, including testing and wearing face masks indoors, by the end of February.
The previous rules allowed clubs to apply for a postponement if they were reduced to less than 14 senior players and Covid infections, however few, could be considered a factor.
Tottenham Hotspur complained that the rules were having “unintended consequences” after north London rivals Arsenal successfully applied for the postponement of their scheduled clash earlier this month.
Debate over the rules in the Carabao Cup also erupted after Liverpool had a game postponed on the basis of a suspected outbreak that later transpired to be a false alarm.