English Premier League suspended until April 4

Author: Sports Desk Report
Callum-Hudson-Odo- Chelsea
Callum-Hudson-Odo- Chelsea

The English Premier League suspended all fixtures until 4 April on Friday after a spate of coronavirus cases, including Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

"Following a meeting of shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on April 4, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time," the Premier League said in a statement.

Everton also announced their entire first-team squad and coaching staff have been told to self-isolate after a player reported symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Leicester City had three players go into self-isolation on Thursday and Bournemouth said goalkeeper Artur Boruc and four staff members were also self-isolating.

"Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19," said Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters.

"In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority."

The English Football League, which heads up the three divisions below the Premier League, and Women's Super League will also be suspended until April 4.

England's two friendly matches at home to Italy and Denmark later this month have been postponed.

However, the authorities still hope to be able to resume and complete the season at a later date.

"Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim is to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by Academy sides, when it is safe to do so," added the Premier League statement.

The Premier League was thrown into chaos on Thursday as Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi both contracted the new coronavirus.

Arsenal and Chelsea are not the only top-flight clubs affected by the virus.

Leicester, who were originally scheduled to play at Watford on Saturday, said on Thursday that three of their players have shown symptoms and are self-isolating as a precaution.

The Foxes said the unnamed trio had "presented with extremely mild illness" in recent days.

"We've had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs," Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said.

"We've followed procedure and they have been kept away at this moment from the rest of the squad and then we'll see how that develops."

Manchester City said one unnamed member of their squad, reportedly France defender Benjamin Mendy, is in self-isolation after a family member suffered a respiratory illness.

The relative is being treated in hospital and has undergone tests for the coronavirus, which can cause shortness of breath.

It is a similar picture across the continent. In Italy, Europe's worst-hit country, Serie A has suspended matches until at least April 3 and Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has been quarantined.

City's Champions League last 16 second-leg meeting with Real Madrid, set for Tuesday, has been postponed after one of the Spanish club's basketball players tested positive for the virus.

All French Ligue 1 matches will be held behind closed doors until 15 April, the next two La Liga match days have been suspended and this weekend's Bundesliga fixtures will also go ahead without watching fans.

Uefa, European football's governing body, will consider whether to postpone the Champions League and Euro 2020 at a meeting next week.

Arsenal's league match at Manchester City last Wednesday was postponed and several Gunners players went into self-isolation after Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis contracted the virus.

Marinakis, 52, met Arsenal players and staff when the Gunners faced Olympiakos in a Europa League tie in February.