The Premier League have confirmed England’s top flight has been suspended until April 3 “at the earliest” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following an announcement from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, the Premier League had been set to go ahead this weekend, despite other European leagues temporarily being suspended.
A statement released on Thursday night from the Premier League confirmed the games would be going ahead, but highlighted the Prime Minister’s comments on sporting fixtures potentially being banned at a later date.
How coronavirus will affect the Premier League: Five things to know…
- The Premier League has been suspended until April 3 “at the earliest” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was the first Premier League-linked person to be officially confirmed as having the virus.
- Shortly after, Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi was confirmed as the first player to contract coronavirus.
- As things stand, eight Premier League clubs have personnel in self-isolation.
- The situation will be reviewed once again on April 3.
However, shortly after Arsenal released a statement confirming manager Mikel Arteta had tested positive for COVID-19 with all staff to have come into close contact with the Spaniard entering self-isolation.
As a result, Arsenal’s game with Brighton scheduled for Saturday had been suspended. This came after the Gunners’ previous match against Manchester City was also postponed due to coronavirus fears following Arsenal’s Europa League meeting with Olympiacos whose owner was confirmed to have contracted the virus.
Shortly after the news broke, the Premier League released another statement confirming an emergency club meeting had been scheduled for Friday morning to discuss future fixtures.
And in that meeting, clubs have come to an agreement to suspend the Premier League until at least April 3, when the situation will be reviews once more.
BREAKING: The Premier League have announced they will suspend all games until April 3rd due to the Coronavirus outbreak. pic.twitter.com/fmxdRWA8TE
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 13, 2020
A statement read: “The FA, Premier League, EFL and Barclay’s Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until 3 April at the earliest.
“This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the COVID-19 virus.
“The postponements include all matches in the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all Academy and youth team fixtures.
“In addition, clubs are being advised to suspend indefinitely all non-essential activities which include, but are not limited to, player appearances, training ground visits and fan meetings.
“Whilst the EFL Board has continued to take the advice and guidance offered by the Government and its health advisors, emerging developments mean now is the time to implement football’s contingency plans in response to the crisis.
“A further update on these plans will be given post an EFL Board meeting next week.
“This decision has not been taken lightly, but the EFL must prioritise the health and well-being of players, staff and supporters while also acknowledging the Government’s national efforts in tackling this outbreak.”
Another statement released said: “Following a meeting of Shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time.
“Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by Academy sides, when it is safe to do so.
“In this fast-moving environment, further updates will be provided when appropriate.”
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters added: “Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19.
“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.”
Several Premier League clubs hit by coronavirus scares
Although the Premier League has been suspended, the future of the 2019/20 campaign remains unclear. As things stand, Liverpool are just six points away from their first league title in 30 years while there are still close battles for a top four finish and safety from relegation.
Arsenal are not the only Premier League club to have been affected by coronavirus. Earlier on Thursday, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed three unnamed players were self-isolating after showing coronavirus symptoms.
BREAKING: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/3bZOsESB4f
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 12, 2020
In the early hours of Friday morning, Chelsea’ Callum Hudson-Odoi became the first Premier League player confirmed to have contracted the virus, sending the club into self-isolation, although the winger released a message claiming he has now recovered.
Manchester City left-back Benjamin Mendy is also in self-isolation after a family member was admitted to hospital displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
Friday also saw Everton, Watford, Bournemouth and West Ham United confirm members of their squad have gone into self-isolation due to coronavirus fears.
Other major competitions affected by coronavirus
Italy: Serie A and Serie B have been suspended until April 3, alongside all sporting events.
Spain: The next two weekends of LaLiga have been suspended (13-15 March and 20-22 March), while the Copa del Rey final on April 18 is also postponed.
Germany: Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 have been suspended until April 2.
France: Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 have been suspended “until further notice” while the French League Cup final on April 4 is also postponed.
Uefa competitions: All games scheduled for week commencing March 16 cancelled. A meeting is set for Tuesday March 17 on the future of the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020.
Netherlands: Eredivisie and second division games have been suspended for the next two games.
Portugal: Primeira Liga has been suspended indefinitely.
United States: MLS has been suspended for 30 days.
South America: Conmebol World Cup 2022 qualifiers scheduled for 23-31 March have been postponed.