Wednesday’s Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal has been postponed as a “precautionary measure” after members of Arsenal’s playing and backroom staff came into contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.
A number of Mikel Arteta’s squad have gone into self-isolation after coming into contact with Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis during their Europa League round-of-32 second-leg tie at the Emirates Stadium on 27 February.
Since that game, Marinakis has confirmed he has contracted Coronavirus. The 52-year-old in attendance for Nottingham Forest’s 3-0 defeat to Millwall last week.
“The recent virus has “visited” me and I felt obliged to let the public know,” Marinakis wrote on Instagram.
“I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and I follow the doctors’ instructions. I strongly advice (sic) all my fellow citizens to do the same.
“I wish all a quick recovery.”
Olympiacos have since released a statement saying their players, coaching staff, board members and backroom staff were all tested negative for Covid-19.
A club statement said: “Olympiacos FC informs that after the required medical exams to which all the members of the football staff (players, coaching, medical and technical staff of the team), as well as all the board members and staff, were submitted, all the tests came out negative for the COVID-19 virus.”
The Arsenal staff in question have gone into self-isolation for 14 days, as per the government guidelines, and are expected to return to training on Friday.
Until now, the only measure put in place by the Premier League was banning pre-match handshakes.
When will Man City vs Arsenal be rescheduled?
Although the Premier League have confirmed this fixture will be rearranged, they are yet to confirm a revised date.
OFFICIAL: Arsenal’s rescheduled match against Manchester City on Wednesday night has been postponed.
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 11, 2020
An official Premier League statement said: “Following medical advice, Arsenal FC and Manchester City FC consider it is necessary to postpone their fixture due to be played this evening to give time to fully assess the situation.
“The Premier League has therefore agreed that tonight’s game will be rearranged.”
Uefa is currently co-ordinating with domestic leagues to discuss the possibility of running European and domestic matches at the same time – a practice not currently allowed by the governing body – to avoid a lengthy fixture backlog.
Will Olympiacos vs Wolves go ahead?
Despite news of the Olympiacos’ contracting coronavirus, Wolves’ request to postpone their Europa League tie with the Greek club was rejected by Uefa. The game will take place behind closed doors on Thursday.
A statement on the official Wolves website said: “Wolves can confirm that a formal request submitted to UEFA proposing the postponement of Thursday’s Europa League tie at Olympiacos has been rejected by the governing body.
“The match will take place, behind closed doors, in line with the Greek government’s enforced temporary suspension of spectators attending sporting events, to limit the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in Greece.
“Our position is that the trip poses unnecessary risks to our players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel, at such critical and uncertain times.
“Our concern is also for our opponents, whose players and staff have today been tested, and will now be expected to play their part in an important fixture, under the difficult and challenging circumstances of their owner suffering with the virus.
“There is also disappointment that the match will be played without home and away supporters, as that is part of what makes European competition so special, as well as the fact our fans have already contended with similar obstacles on our Europa League journey already this season.
“We believe that there are some things that are more important than football, and that the good health of our pack and the general public is one of them. However, we respect the decision of UEFA and the integrity of the competition, and we will travel tomorrow to Greece to play the fixture.
“We hope that our request to UEFA, and our acceptance of their decision, can act as the catalyst for them to consider alternative options moving forwards, as this will not be the last fixture to be affected by Coronavirus.”
What other games have been affected by Coronavirus?
Although this is the first Premier League fixture to be affected by Coronavirus, the outbreak has already caused widespread disruption around Europe.
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 9, 2020
Serie A has now been suspended until at least April 3, with proposals being put forward should the Italian season be unable to reach its conclusion. These include using play-offs to decide the title race and relegation battle, using the present standings as a final table — which would see Juventus once again crowned champions — or declare the season void altogether.
The German Bundesliga and La Liga have also seen fixtures postponed and played behind closed doors. The Swiss Bundesliga has been put on hold until March 23 at the earliest, while Ligue 1 are allowing a maximum of 1,000 fans to attend each game.
A number of Champions League and Europa League matches are set to be played behind closed doors, including Chelsea’s trip to Bayern Munich and Manchester United’s clash with LASK.
An empty Mestalla as Atalanta lead Valencia 2-1 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate. pic.twitter.com/KgjiyLtsl1
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 10, 2020
Germany’s international fixture against Italy on 31 March will now take place behind closed doors while English and Italian FAs will meet this week to decide whether to go ahead with the friendly scheduled for March 27 at Wembley.
There are now genuine fears that the outbreak could curtail the season entirely, or force Euro 2020 to be moved to allow the 2019/20 campaign to reach its conclusion.
Last five meetings: Man City vs Arsenal
15 December 2019: Arsenal 0-3 Man City (Premier League)
03 February 2019: Man City 3-1 Arsenal (Premier League)
12 August 2018: Arsenal 0-2 Man City (Premier League)
01 March 2018: Arsenal 0-3 Man City (Premier League)
25 February 2018: Arsenal 0-3 Man City (League Cup)
Aggregate Score: Man City (WWWWW) 14-1 Arsenal (LLLLL)