LONDON-The English Premier League suspended all fixtures until April 4 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 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” the Premier League said in a statement.
The suspension affects all professional matches in England, with the Football League, comprising Divisions One, Two and Three, and the Women’s Super League also posptoned.
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.”
England’s two friendly matches at home to Italy and Denmark later this month have been postponed.
The Premier League, FA, EFL and WSL have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England.
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 virus has already caused major disruption in other European leagues, with Italy’s Serie A suspened until April 3, the Spanish first and second divisions postponed for two weeks, the French league suspended indefinitely and next week’s Champions League and Europa League matches suspended. DailyTelegraph