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Oct, 27, 2009

Allardyce fears swine flu outbreak at Chelsea

Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce is concerned that Chelsea could be the next team to be struck down by an outbreak of swine flu after claiming the Premier League "shirked responsibility" by allowing the teams to clash at the weekend.

• Swine flu affects Trotters • Rovers pair suffering from swine flu • Ligue 1 swine flu postponement

A number of Rovers' players are suffering from the virus and Allardyce revealed that he voiced concerns prior to Saturday's match at Stamford Bridge but the Premier League decided to go ahead with the match despite two confirmed cases of swine flu within his squad.

Chris Samba and David Dunn both missed the game with Chelsea, although Rovers have not confirmed the duo are among those suffering from swine flu, and Allardyce believes it is possible the virus could have been spread to the Chelsea camp.

"There is no doubt about that," Allardyce said. "When you look at the medical side of it, it is one of the most infectious viruses we have had."

But Allardyce is adamant Blackburn have operated by the book, by informing league authorities and letting them determine the next step of action.

He said: "They know that we went through the right procedures and that we did not call it off because we couldn't. There was no point in trying because back in February or March they told us we had to get a team out there, no matter what.

"It is their responsibility to consider how dangerous it might be to allow this to spread throughout football so they have shirked responsibility - not us. I don't think they have put much thought into it at all."

Blackburn's match with Peterborough in the Carling Cup is due to go ahead on Tuesday night despite three players and two members of the Rovers staff suffering from the N1H1 virus.

A similar case in France at the weekend saw Paris St Germain's match at Marseille postponed. PSG's Ludovic Giuly and Mamadou Sakho were diagnosed with the virus on Saturday and the confirmation of a third case in the squad on Sunday prompted Ligue 1 authorities to act. Two members of PSG's coaching team had also reported symptoms of swine flu.

The Premier League responded to Allardyce's concerns, by stating: "As ever, when it comes to health matters the Premier League will be guided by the relevant statutory authorities.

"If a club postpone any of their matches they would have to prove they were unable to fulfil their fixture, however we do not anticipate, at this stage, any circumstances under which a match could be justifiably postponed."

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