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English Premier League suspended due to coronavirus

English Premier League suspended due to coronavirus

Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Everton - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - February 23, 2020 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta celebrates with Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi after the match REUTERS/David Klein

LONDON: All elite football matches in England, including the Premier League, were suspended until Apr 4 on Friday (Mar 13) due to the coronavirus pandemic, English football's governing bodies said in a joint statement.

The "unanimous" decision was made in a meeting on Friday, after Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi were diagnosed with the coronavirus. 

READ: Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta tests positive for coronavirus

READ: Chelsea's Hudson-Odoi tests positive for coronavirus

"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," said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters. 

"Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19." 

READ: Everton squad self-isolates as player reports coronavirus symptoms

In a statement posted on its website, the Premier League added: "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.

"In this fast-moving environment, further updates will be provided when appropriate."

The news of Arteta and Hudson-Odoi's positive tests forced the English football authorities to act.

"I don't think we had any great leadership last night listening to the prime minister. I was totally underwhelmed by the lack of leadership and clear message in terms of what was said in that press conference," said Watford manager Nigel Pearson.

"Hopefully the Premier League will make strong decisions based on what is right for everybody within the game."

READ: All UEFA football matches for next week postponed due to coronavirus

Hudson-Odoi said he had already "recovered" from the virus but will continue to self-isolate.

"As you may be aware I had the virus for the last couple of days, which I've recovered from," the England international posted in a video on social media.

"I'm following the health guidelines and self-isolated myself from everybody for the week. I hope to be back on the pitch very soon."

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Source: CNA/nh/hs


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