On Friday, the Premier League announced that all matches will be cancelled until at least 4 April – after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi were among the people to test positive for coronavirus.
BBC Sport has looked at how the global pandemic has affected the Premier League clubs to date.
- Premier League and EFL suspended in England
- Uefa suspends Champions League and Europa League
- Scottish football postponed over coronavirus
- Uefa to discuss possibility of postponing Euro 2020 by one year
- How coronavirus has impacted sporting events around the world
On Thursday it was announced that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, 37, had become the first Premier League manager to test positive for coronavirus.
A statement said: “Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with government health guidelines.
“We expect this to be a significant number of people from [training centre] Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy, which we have also temporarily closed.”
It comes after Evangelos Marinakis, the owner of Olympiakos – the Greek side who played Arsenal in the Europa League in February – announced he had coronavirus on 10 March.
Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has said he is uncertain whether the Premier League season will be able to be completed.
“We have no idea, we hope so,” he said, after leaving a meeting at the Premier League’s office in Paddington, London on Friday.
Aston Villa had been due to play at home against Chelsea on Saturday and the club have said that lunches and hot food for hospitality areas that had been prepared will be distributed to homeless organisations and sheltered accommodation units through the Aston Villa Foundation.
Five Bournemouth employees are currently self-isolating, having displayed symptoms consistent with Covid-19, the club said on Friday.
A statement said: “Goalkeeper Artur Boruc, along with four first-team members of staff, are self-isolating in line with government and public health guidelines.
“This is a precautionary measure as, at this stage, none have tested positive for coronavirus.”
Brighton’s home match against Arsenal, scheduled for 14 March, was postponed on Thursday – a day before the Premier League announced that all top-flight matches would be cancelled.
Chief executive Paul Barber said: “It’s absolutely essential the health and wellbeing of individuals takes priority and with that in mind Saturday’s match has been postponed.
“We apologise to all fans for any inconvenience but trust everyone will understand that we are all facing an unprecedented situation.”
At a news conference on Thursday, Clarets boss Sean Dyche talked about the potential of matches being played behind closed doors or being cancelled.
He said: “We have to be as professional as we can and go with whatever is decided. Health is more important than anything.”
As for whether any of his players had shown any symptoms of the virus, Dyche added: “Not that we know of – everyone’s fit and healthy.”
On Thursday, England international Callum Hudson-Odoi, 19, was the first Premier League player to have a positive test result for coronavirus.
A club statement said: “Callum displayed symptoms similar to a mild cold on Monday morning and has not been at the training ground since then as a precaution. However, his test came in positive and he will undergo a period of self-isolation.”
Chelsea said club personnel, including the men’s squad, coaching and backroom staff, would self-isolate while the men’s team building at their training ground would be closed.
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has insisted he has never felt healthier and is not fearful over the threat of coronavirus.
Hodgson, 72, is the oldest manager in the Premier League and said: “The things we’re doing at the club will keep me a lot healthier than the average guy – I don’t have any fears in that respect.
“We have cleaners around the training ground, we have disinfected everything, we have hand wash everywhere, the players are no longer shaking hands or hugging so we’re doing all the things there are to be done.”
An Everton player is in a seven-day period of isolation, the club confirmed on Friday.
A statement said: “Everton Football Club can confirm that one member of the Everton first-team squad reported a high temperature last night and is now undertaking a period of self-isolation for seven days.
“In line with government guidelines no other players are self-isolating at this stage but the club’s USM training facility has been closed as a precaution and staff, including players, have been advised to stay away from all club sites until further notice.”
Three members of Leicester’s first-team squad have undertaken a period of self-isolation following recent medical advice, the club announced in a statement on Thursday.
The three players were described as having “extremely mild illness” and were advised by club medical staff to stay home and contact the NHS 111 service.
“All three players were subsequently advised that their symptoms were consistent with common seasonal illness and that a seven-day period of self-isolation was appropriate as a precaution,” added the statement. “There was no recommendation that further testing would be necessary.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has backed the decision to temporarily postpone the Premier League and, in a letter to the club’s fans, wrote: “The decision and announcement is being implemented with the motive of keeping people safe. Because of that we support it completely.”
The Reds were the last English top-flight team to play a home match in England before all English elite-level football was cancelled as they lost 3-2 to Atletico Madrid (and 4-2 on aggregate) in their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday at a packed Anfield.
A charity match at Anfield, between Liverpool Legends and Barcelona Legends, scheduled for Saturday, 28 March, has also been postponed.
Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy, 25, is self-isolating as a precaution after a member of his family was admitted to hospital displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
“The club is aware that a family member of a senior men’s team player is in hospital with symptoms of a respiratory illness,” said a City statement. “He has undergone tests at hospital, one of which is for Covid-19.
“Until the results are known, the player in question is self-isolating as a precaution.”
Manchester United played the first leg of their Europa League last-16 match away at Austrian side LASK Linz on Thursday behind closed doors, with United winning 5-0.
About 900 United fans had bought match tickets, which will be refunded, although fans were unlikely to recover the costs of their travel and accommodation because Austria was not on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s list of destinations to avoid.
The second leg at Old Trafford is among the matches that have been postponed.
Speaking on Friday, but before it had been confirmed that Premier League football would be stopped for at least three weeks, manager Steve Bruce said: “The welfare of everybody is key. For me, suspend it, shut it down and rearrange it for another date when the situation is clearer.
“That’s the only viable solution because if you go behind closed doors and you’ve got managers and players affected by it then how are they going to play their games?”
On 28 February, Bruce said his squad had stopped their “ritual” of shaking hands with each other every morning on medical advice.
No Norwich players have been affected by the coronavirus and a club statement said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of all staff, players and supporters continues to be the club’s absolute priority.
“The club continue to be guided and advised by the Premier League, government and NHS with regards to next steps.”
During his news conference on Thursday, boss Chris Wilder said he preferred matches to be cancelled instead of played behind closed doors.
“The game is nothing without supporters,” said Wilder. “A delay, an extension would be my preferred option. The human aspect and people’s health comes above anything and is the priority.”
Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl held a news conference on Thursday and said: “We have to do everything possible to make sure that the virus is not spreading so quickly. This is the goal we all have.
“If it helps to play without supporters or anything else we have to do this and deal with it. This is the most important thing at the moment, and everything else is not so interesting.”
Former Southampton forward Manolo Gabbiadini, 28, has also tested positive for coronavirus, his current club Sampdoria have confirmed.
At the end of February, forward Son Heung-min began a period of two-week isolation because of the coronavirus outbreak after returning from South Korea.
He had gone back to his home nation for an operation last month on his arm, which he broke during a Premier League match against Aston Villa two weeks before.
On Tuesday, Tottenham played in front of a capacity crowd in Germany as they lost 3-0 to RB Leipzig to go out of the Champions League, losing their last-16 tie 4-0 on aggregate.
A player at Watford has been tested for coronavirus after displaying symptoms.
Watford manager Nigel Pearson said: “We’ve had players who have had symptoms of not being well.
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“We’ve got one player awaiting tests results on his symptoms. We are trying to be proactive and hopefully the Premier League will make a strong decision based on what is good for everybody.”
On 7 March, West Ham played Arsenal, whose boss Mikel Arteta is now confirmed as having coronavirus.
A Hammers statement said: “Due to members of West Ham personnel being in direct contact with the Arsenal manager, the club is taking a precautionary approach and those individuals are now self-isolating.
“West Ham has already taken a number of precautionary measures and its Rush Green training ground will undergo a further deep clean and is closed until further notice. The club’s other training grounds at Chadwell Heath and Little Heath, as well as London Stadium, are also being deep cleaned.”
Wolves failed in an appeal to Uefa to get their Europa League last 16 first-leg tie away against Olympiakos postponed after the Greek club’s owner confirmed he had coronavirus two days beforehand.
A Wolves statement said the trip posed “unnecessary risks” to our players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel.
Nevertheless, Thursday’s match went ahead, albeit behind closed doors, with it ending 1-1 but the second leg at Molineux, scheduled for 19 March, has been postponed and it is not yet known when it will be played.
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