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13 Mar, 2020 11:03

Premier League SUSPENDS all matches until April 3 due to coronavirus outbreak

Premier League SUSPENDS all matches until April 3 due to coronavirus outbreak

The Premier League has suspended all matches until at least April 3, with the aim to later reschedule fixtures, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The news was announced after an emergency stakeholders meeting was held on Friday.

"Following a meeting of Shareholders [on Friday], 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 statement, released Friday, read.

The statement also confirmed the Premier League "aim is to reschedule the displaced fixtures" once fixtures resume.

An emergency meeting was called to take place on Friday to decide on action to stem the spread of infection following the news Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was confirmed as having tested positive for COVID19.

On the day league figures convened, the number of clubs with players in isolation had risen to five.

READ MORE: Arsenal manager Arteta tests positive for Covid-19, forcing football team into self-isolation

The threat of coronavirus infection across the Premier League became all the more real after news emerged on Thursday of Arteta’s positive test. The entire Arsenal first team squad plus staff members who had come into contact with Arteta were subsequently placed into self-isolation. 

Later, Chelsea starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi was reported as having tested positive, triggering identical precautionary measures at his club.

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Days earlier, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers reported three members of his playing staff were showing symptoms of the disease, and Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy placed himself in quarantine following a family member’s hospitalization.

Hours before the Premier League’s decision, Everton announced its entire first team would be self-isolating after first-team players showed signs of coronavirus symptoms, although they reported no confirmed cases.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said he wished "speedy recoveries" to Arteta and England international Hudson-Odoi, as well as all those affected by the virus.


"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 said.

Senior figures had condemned the Premier League’s lack of action at a time when European counterparts were taking strict measures and immediately suspending fixtures.

By Friday, all of football’s top European leagues had already announced changes; in Italy, Serie A had been suspended with the country currently in lockdown; in Spain, football’s top two divisions were suspended for at least two weeks; and Germany’s Bundesliga was on Friday until put off until at least April 2.

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