Published: 13:00, 06 January 2021
| Updated: 08:25, 13 January 2021
Gillingham have returned negative Covid-19 results following a mass test which all EFL clubs will now complete on a twice-weekly basis.
Clubs were instructed to test all of their players and staff this week by the EFL, the first time since October, and it’s an all-clear for the Gills. Now clubs have been told those tests will be conducted twice every week, with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) paying the cost.
This week's all-clear result means their match against Burton Albion on Saturday can go ahead, assuming their opponents have no issues of their own.
League 1 has been hit hard by Covid issues of late, with over 30 games in the division postponed so far because of infections at various clubs.
More games are off at the weekend with Sunderland’s match against Fleetwood postponed and Wigan versus Hull City also off.
Lower-league teams like Gillingham have been labelled 'elite' in line with the Premier League but, unlike top-flight clubs, have not undergone regular testing. Despite that they have been able to continue playing in a lockdown. Testing will now take place twice a week from Monday, January 11.
The EFL say the tests have initially been procured from the private sector.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: “In the light of the current increase in Covid-19 cases and the resulting further tightening of government regulations, the PFA and the EFL have agreed enhanced measures to help protect players, staff and their families.
“Football has provided temporary relief for many fans during the lockdown. PFA members, alongside millions of people, have worked hard and played a positive role throughout the pandemic.
“We believe that this comprehensive and expansive approach to testing will help support clubs and be an important factor in maintaining fixtures and ensuring that football can continue during this challenging period.”
Gillingham have only had one match called off so far, their Boxing Day match against Peterborough having to be rescheduled after a positive case at the London Road club. Striker Dominic Samuel has previously tested positive but was out injured anyway.