Updated added on 19 March 2020 at 16:26 (SAST): The English football shutdown was extended until at least 30 April following a crisis meeting. “We’ve collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday, 30 April,” said a joint statement by the English Football Association, Premier League, EFL, players and managers’ bodies.
The English Premier League has today announced that following a Shareholders meeting, it was unanimously decided to suspend the competition and the professional game as a whole with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time.
The decision comes hours after Arsenal confirmed that head coach Mikel Arteta had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi has also tested positive for the virus while several clubs have imposed a period of self-isolation in an attempt to curb the virus from spreading.
Several sporting events across the globe have been directly impacted by the coronavirus with the NBA having also suspended its season indefinitely. This weekend’s Australian Grand Prix has also been called off.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “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,” he concluded.
UEFA have also announced that all competitions under its banner has been postponed, including Champions League and Europa League matches due to be played next week.
It is not yet sure what impact this will have on the outcome of the respective leagues.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool currently top the English Premier League standings, 25-points clear of second-placed Manchester City.
The Eredivisie, Serie A, LaLiga and French Ligue 1 have also suspended all matches for the foreseeable future while the Bundesliga is set to follow suit.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been 132 500 official cases across 123 countries as of today, with just under 5000 deaths.