English Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City has been postponed as a precautionary measure due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The fixture, which was to be played at Manchester City’s home ground tomorrow morning AEDT, is the first top-flight football match in England to be postponed because of concerns over the virus.
This decision was taken late on Tuesday after a small number of Arsenal players, along with four of the club’s staff, was confirmed to have been in close proximity to the Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis who said yesterday that he had contracted the virus when the sides met in London 13 days ago. The players and staff are now in self-isolation and, while nobody around Arsenal is showing any symptoms of Covid-19, both they and City took medical advice before coming to the conclusion that, with the league’s agreement, the match should not go ahead and arsenal identified that a number of players met the Olympiacos owner immediately following the game. Arsenal statement “The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing Covid-19 at extremely low.
However, we are strictly following the government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact and as a result, the players are unavailable for tonight’s match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed. The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires, when four (4) Arsenal staff, who were sitting close to Mr Marinakis during the match, will also remain at home until the 14 days are complete.
Arsenal are at pains right now to be stress nobody has tested positive for the virus and that their internal precautions have been meticulous. Players and staff have been regularly tested for Covid-19 in recent weeks, while an enhanced procedure of hand sanitising and reducing handshakes around the training ground has been in place throughout the winter. The squad will have a day off on Wednesday in lieu of the City game, with Thursday’s plans for those not self-isolating is yet to be confirmed.
They also reported, “We fully understand how disappointing this is for our supporters, in particular, those who were travelling to Manchester for tonight’s match”. Tickets will be valid for the match when it’s rearranged as a further precautionary measure, whilst we do not believe there was any close contact with any other Arsenal guests or staff in the directors box restaurant, we are contacting them to advise they should follow the relevant advice if there has been any such contact“, everyone at Arsenal Football Club wishes Mr Marinakis a swift recovery and we look forward to the players and staff returning to work on Friday in preparation for our match at Brighton.